[Jandek] Chapel Hill notes
jason.henn at gmail.com
Sat Feb 28 08:24:05 PST 2009
Hey, Danen and everybody,
I'm a little surprised to see no one has written about the Chapel Hill show,
too. From what I heard, there was a good buzz around town, and the venue was
definitely pretty full. This was my 7th Jandek show, and I'm really tempted
to say it was the best guitar/rock show I've seen (I've seen two piano shows
that don't really compare). The venue was a cute little hall next to
Memorial Hall on campus (http://www.unc.edu/tour/LEVEL_2/gerrard.htm).
Presidents Polk, Van Buren and Wilson have spoken there. Really intimate
little rectangle. Great balcony. The set was fucking loud and easily as
brutal as the first Newcastle or Brooklyn show. Totally unhinged at times.
Great lyrics. Harmonica! Brian Jones was good in Richmond VA a couple years
ago, but he did some superhuman things Sunday night, playing in huge,
violent, impressionistic washes. He and Anne Gomez completely locked down
together. Gomez plays bass in Cantwell, Gomez and Jordan, which a friend
described to me as a sort of punk-informed jam band. She also pulled out a
sax for a couple songs, and at least once she just started screaming into
her sax mic. John Darnielle wore a Cannibal Corpse t-shirt under a black
blazer and was really good on keys. At one point a friend said to me, "Dude,
Darnielle is like the mortar." He was extremely versatile and sort of snaked
around inside the guitar-bass-drums structure. At times he played chords,
totally consonant, tonal, other times he was just flat-pawing and noodling
out. He was playing some sort of Nord keyboard and used different sounds
throughout the show, which helped a lot to distinguish the pieces and
keeping things engaging. I was inspired to keep track by track notes, I
think because I always regret not doing it after each show. Here’s what I
1. Reminded me of the Brooklyn CD—started sparse and quickly ramped into
complete chaos. Bass-drums-keys-guitar-vox. Keys had a sort of Rhodes sound,
and I think the guitar had a weird chorus effect. Felt like 15 or 20 minutes
long. The lyrics dealt with a lot of the heavy soul/body/identity stuff
we've heard before:
"Look at my body/my body is who I am/what you see is me."
"I chose my future/I chose my past."
The bulk of the lyrics were a laundry list of things he had "tried" in order
...listening to the birds
...looking at the walls
...losing my sex life
...laying on the couch
...looking at the lights
...walking on the water
...living in the city
...living in a town
...mathematics (sung-spoken "math-uh-mat-ics")
...driving the car
...sitting at the table"
2. This one doesn't stick much in my memory except for the opening line,
"The sky is falling down...." Drummer started on glock before moving to the
full set. Gomez on sax freak-out. A lot more airy and spacious than the
opener. Got gradually denser but didn't really approach the intensity of the
3. This was a highlight. Rep on harmonica. The arrangement sounded like a
descendant of "Ha Ha" from Interstellar Discussion. A few harmonica wheezes,
then some lyrics, back and forth. The big difference was obviously the full
band arrangement, including an organ sound somewhere between church service
and 7th inning stretch. The organ would back off during lyrics and respond
during breaks between (example coming to mind for some reason is that Zappa
song "Road Ladies"). Some lyrics...
"I can be straightforward."
"I think I am unstable." (repeated a lot)
"I want to do this
then I don't
I want to do that
then I don't"
4. Rowdy instrumental. Gomez started on sax and switched to bass toward the
5. This one was the centerpiece of the show, another massive full band song
with the Rep playing an ominous sort of police siren interval on the intro.
The opening line was so good that I kept going and ended up transcribing
most of the lyrics. Seems to be more meditation on
I got a million pairs of underwear
And 10,000 pairs of shoes
I spend all my time wondering what to wear
I got 16 cars in an airport hangar
Elevators to take me to my upstairs rooms
I got a small province [?]
I can’t decide what swimsuit to put on
I got my own train to take me home
>From my own movie house
I got 1,000 tangerines in bowls in my banquet room
A real live nursery with all my imaginary children
15 little Tommies [?}
Guess I’ll go play there at the [?] in the sandox
10,000 pairs of shoes
I might as well go barefoot
There’s freedom on the other side
One million pairs of underwear
And 10 shirts for every day of the year
I’m wondering what to put on
How shall I look today?
Everything’s got to be just right
When I sit down to eat a bowl of grapes
All the clothes I got to wear don’t fit me anymore
6. Last song. Didn’t get any lyrics, but the keys had a harpsichord sound,
Gomez was blowing hard through the detached mouthpiece of her sax, and there
was lots of glock.
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