Live review: Caravan
Venue: London Union Chapel
Van der Graaf Generator’s drummer Guy Evans revisits the Canterbury legends after 40 long years – and gives them an 11/4 rating.
So here’s the plan. We invite some closet rock legend to a gig by his contemporaries, then press-gang him into being our reviewer fifteen minutes before the show. It’s Caravan, old road mates I haven’t seen for four decades. Plus, it’s the Union Chapel, where I have lots of history and even ran for a while. That space, candle-lit gorgeous for an audience, can be tough to crack from the stage. Not much chance of objectivity here, then.
A dead pedal board makes for an edgy start. Geoffrey Richardson drily notes a very British ritual unfolding, as four blokes in a circle stare downwards, scratch their heads, and mutter. Coming from a band notorious for electronic misfortune, I just see this as a spur to greater heights. And so it proves, as Pye Hastings is forced to roll out a treat in clean Strat playing. Lovely gritty rhythms, great jangle, subtle, knowing funk and choice moments of howl: I’d forgotten how much I enjoy his playing.