Watch highlights from Can’s performances on TV (because they never get old)

Written By: 
Randall Roberts
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Though many of us have spent hours (days? weeks?) on end consumed in Can live performances over the years – really, is there any better reason for YouTube? – the most remarkable thing about the band is their work’s enduring nature. Pop on Monster Movie, Soundtracks or Tago Mago (which we just now did) and their awesomeness remains a glory to behold.

This is especially true on a morning after a tense election that increasingly revealed the abyss dividing those of us who exist in reality and those who peddle and amplify lies.

Today’s amplification involves an undeniable fact: Absorbing deeply felt sounds with intention and a desire for revelation is a noble way to spend your time. Therefore, Can videos.

Originally released on their 1973 four-song album Future Days, at a little over three minutes “Moonshake” was an outlier, as the record’s three other songs each clocked in at more than 8 minutes. Four years after its release, the band played it on German TV.

Though the band never toured America and thus didn’t appear on US TV, they were a frequent presence on European shows in the 1970s. Thankfully, Can and their management seemed to say yes to TV appearances at every opportunity. Below, a 6-minute version of a song, Halleluwah, that when it was released on Tago Mago ran for 18-plus minutes.

In the fall of 1976, disco was consuming the world, and though on the surface Can was hardly a disco band per se, they long embraced relentlessly danceable rhythms (even if subdued German audience members mostly sat motionless as they played). “I Want More” is both pure Can and pure disco, and found a home on dance floors around the world, most notably at David Mancuso’s parties at The Loft.

Now would be a good time to plug YouTube to your hi-fi system – ideally via a nice DAC for a boost of beefy clarity). Here’s a ferocious full concert from 1971.

You know something great’s about to happen with Holger Czukay takes off his top. Though the band seems to stumble at the start – heroes are human, after all – soon they lock into a Jaki Liebezeit-fueled groove that confirms Czukay was right to go shirtless. Damo Suzuki is a wildly menacing presence.

The below clip captures Can at the Bataclan in Paris, 1973, playing three tracks, “Spoon, “Pinch,” and “Sing Swan Song.”

Bonus track: The Fall’s song “I Am Damo Suzuki” is the best ode to the Can singer. Though the video below could have better sound, it’s a wicked 8-minute take on a very Can-ish song. This performance was recorded at the Hacienda in Manchester in 1985.


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