Published on 4th November 2015
Amon Düül II
Village Underground, Shoreditch, London
Friday, 12th June 2015
I have been a fan of Amon Düül II from the early days, not quite as far back as the release of Phallus Dei but almost! I think the beautiful and extraordinary psychedelic album sleeves of Yeti and Dance Of The Lemmings drew me to the band. Hence, I was absolutely elated when I read that they were playing in London; I had never had the opportunity to see them before live and without hesitation booked my ticket.
However, the evening was not quite what I had been hoping for, although I cannot in any shape or form criticise Amon Düül II because they were magnificent and I use my words carefully. The problem was the venue. Maybe I expected too much after recently attending three concerts at the Union Chapel, which is the most beautiful and friendly of places.
The doors were expected to open at 7.00pm and so I arrived at around 6.45pm and there was already a reasonably long queue outside that stretched along the pavement in Holywell Lane towards Shoreditch High Street. I think the doors eventually opened at around 7.45pm and I entered what was just a large dark space. Care had to be taken throughout the evening as the lighting was very poor (virtually non-existent) and there were scattered steps and small staircases around the venue. I made my way to the stage and waited patiently thinking incorrectly that Amon Düül II were going to come on at around 8.00.
The Village Underground steadily filled up and in truth by the time Amon Düül II came on to the stage at around 9.00pm it was jam packed to the rafters and, in all honesty, not very pleasant. Upon saying that I was delighted for the band, who deserved a good crowd. There was no seating area at all just standing which I think is a shame especially for those who are either disabled or recovering from illness. The toilet facilities at the venue were very poor, they were not only very basic but also flooded. This venue is the opposite end of the spectrum to either the Union Chapel or Under the Bridge.
The band started as they meant to go on playing memorable songs from all the classic albums, Phallus Dei, Yeti, Dance Of The Lemmings and Wolf City. Surrounded By The Stars was stunning as was Wolf City, in my view the last of the truly classic Amon Düül II albums. However upon saying that there have been some fine offerings since, La Trance springs to mind and not least the latest album which came out a few months ago, Düülirium. At this stage, I have to say that I did not keep a track of the playlist; it was simply just far too busy!
At the time I was being treated for cancer, however I was not going to miss the opportunity of seeing this incredible band unless I had been completely incapacitated. By 10.00, after standing for over three hours fatigue got the better of me and reluctantly I bid my farewell to the Village Underground.
Amon Düül II were excellent, full of energy and originality; they were given an amazing reception and rapturous applause afterwards; thoroughly deserved from the reports I have read. I did hear, however, that the band were planning to play the Archangels Thunderbird from Yeti as their encore but there was not time. I believe shortly after 10.30pm, the staff cleared the hall and ushered everybody out in a rather heavy handed way. A great performance from a great band, a shame about the venue though.
I understand that the Amon Düül II concert organised by Bad Vibrations at Shapes in London for 21st November has been cancelled, however the band are expected to play in London again next March. I will definitely put that in my diary, I just hope that the venue is more suitable.
Sadly, Lothar Meid passed away this week and I would like to acknowledge his enormous contribution in helping Amon Düül II develop into a truly great Krautrock band. He played bass and sang vocals on some of the great Amon Düül II albums of the seventies including Tanz der Lemminge, Carnival in Babylon and Wolf City.
Renate Knaup-Kroetenschwanz – Vocals
Chris Karrer – Vocals, Violin, Guitar
John Weinzierl – Guitar, Vocals
Danny Fichelsher – Drums
Dieter Serfas – Drums
Sigi Pop – Bass
Ulli Jake Daniels Fliszt – Keyboards