Van Der Graaf Generator: Performance

Repackaged live art-prog.

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On his blog, Peter Hammill politely but firmly asserts that this is an old live recording (from a 1972 Belgian TV show) which has been released before, on CD and DVD, without his blessing, and which is “to be avoided by all but the most avid completists”. This is “the same material as ever”.

That said, it’s fine material, if patchily recorded. The bold boffins of VDGG, mixing jazz, Hammill’s stentorian tones (which famously wowed John Lydon at the height of punk) and at one point what sounds like an aircraft hangar imploding, were operating on the sinister, King Crimson edge of prog.

The labyrinthine A Plague Of Lighthouse Keepers is played in full, as is the tempestuous The Undercover Man.

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts has written about music, films, and art for innumerable outlets. His new book The Velvet Underground is out April 4. He has also published books on Lou Reed, Elton John, the Gothic arts, Talk Talk, Kate Moss, Scarlett Johansson, Abba, Tom Jones and others. Among his interviewees over the years have been David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Patti Smith, Debbie Harry, Bryan Ferry, Al Green, Tom Waits & Lou Reed. Born in North Wales, he lives in London.