[Jandek] Jandek in Manhattan
jwholloway at mac.com
Sat Apr 14 21:16:30 PDT 2007
Hi all, a few quick impressions of the Jandek gig in at Abrons Art
Center on LES in Manhattan .
1. Two and a half hours. A very comfortable theater, though it got
somewhat stuffy about an hour into the show. A sellout.
2. Drummer (Pete Nolan) was incredible, as was bassist -- laid down a
pretty intense groove. With a great rhthym section, you can get away
with damn near anything.
3. First song established what I took to be the theme of the night: I
walked through a grocery store/I walked through a grocery store...
maybe someday I will find something I believe in.
4. The next few songs dealt with seeing/being seen in dreams, and
waking up startled.
5. Then a series of songs about a crime -- property trespassing? Then
a Jandekian description of prison: No women... all men... they are
incarcerated. Description of a hirsute, tatooed prisoner.
6. Last two were about alcohol causing separation from God -- then,
that "apart from my love/your love I don't exist." This would seem to
support speculation I've read that the Corwood rep is a Christian.
7. Musically, what sounded like a lot of seventh chords and minor
sixths. Jandek's music has an inner order or structure; it's not
everybody's bag, of course, but it's obvious to me that he's thought
through what he does. A great sense of dynamics. Again, for this the
Corwood rep had a great partner in Mr Nolan, whose intensity was
Bonhamesque at points.
It's often-noted that Jandek's music can make one feel uncomfortable
and creepy. That's certainly true. But I left this gig with a big
grin on my face, and I'm still on something of a high, and without
chemicals or booze or even fried food. Jandek's in-person vibe is, to
me, overwhelmingly positive. Maybe I'm reading too much into this,
but I got an overall sense of geniune "narrative arc" of loss/pain/
emptiness, but ending with a sort of redemption. Jandek may be odd,
and not everybody's bag to be sure, but there is a overriding honesty
and decency and dignity in his stuff. I've always admired him for so
resolutely and stubbornly pursuing his strange aesthetic vision for
lo these thirty-odd years. But what I got from tonight was that in
some weird way, Jandek partakes of the Universal that informs all
great art, and tho his way of communicating it is the very definition
of idiosyncratic, it is authentic/sui generis and, while informed by
an experience of the tragic, is ultimately positive and redepmtive.
At this moment, I can say it's one of the five or ten best shows I've
ever seen, up there with the likes of Led Zeppelin, Johnny Cash,
Merle Haggard, and Roy Buchanan. Thanks much, Man from Corwood.
Brooklyn, New York
United States of America
jwholloway at mac.com
I am ready to face any challenges that might be foolish enough to
Dwight K. Schrute
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