[Jandek] Chicago - "Is this on?"

Mark Greenberg mark at mayfairrecordings.com
Thu Sep 21 11:48:26 PDT 2006

Yes, TREMENDOUS is right! John McEntire (Tortoise, Sea and Cake, etc,  
etc) on drums, Josh Abrams (Chicago Underground Duo, Town and  
Country, Sam Prekop band, etc) on his little Musicmaster bass. They  
really rocked it. I saw Jandek smile back at them (well, kind of to  
himself) twice in the first few songs... he seemed to enjoy the  
ability to rock it out. John did a great job of also having looser  
chaos and quiet moments too. Josh often droned in open strings but  
also seemed to find chord changes  that added a lot to some of  
Jandek's stationary strumming. All in all I thought they did a  
fantastic job not just following Jandek, but also at times leading  
him. They worked like three strong musicians rather than someone and  
his backing band I thought.  I was blown away!

After the first song the crowd exploded with applause. Then someone  
called out, "Where have you been, man?" It got a big laugh with the  
crowd and a warm chuckle from Jandek.

His lyrics few great.... not a ton of lyrics, but good heavy ones  
that stood well alone... He seems to often return to his first line  
at the end of each song... more so than he does on record as I  
recall. I wonder if that is a cue to the other musicians. He played  
the same black electric guitar I have seen in pictures from other  
shows through a (provided?) Line 6 amp. I was lucky enough to be  
standing with people outside the club when he pulled up in a cab all  
dressed in his black suit. He started to walk the wrong way down the  
street but then turned around and smile toward us. He said hi to Seth  
as he went into the club. It was great to see he was carrying a  
guitar, especially after hearing about his recent use of synth.

It was nice to see and talk to a few folks from the list as well and  
to meet Seth. Between the Touch & Go festival last week with Scratch  
Acid reuniting, the Smog show with Joanna Newsome as his sole band  
mate, two Vashti Bunyan shows, and THIS, I am flying high in the  
friendly skies with inspiration! A LIFE CHANGING TWO WEEKS!

Mark Greenberg

On Sep 21, 2006, at 12:40 PM, Danen D. Jobe wrote:

> Don't have much time to write at the moment, but DEAR LORD.
> I was real worried at first - noisy bar, smoky environment, etc.  
> There was no stand for his lyrics either, which he had to request,  
> and then the mic wasn't working ("is this on" became his sole "on  
> stage speech" to this point. Funny).
> The band were TREMENDOUS. This rocked harder than anything I'd ever  
> seen him do, with a rolling bass hitting off John McEntire's often  
> double-timed drums. The lyrics were about prison, God, and a  
> topless girl in a red skirt. The singing was very controlled - he  
> took a bit of what he was doing in Toronto and combined it with  
> "the howl." I took a friend who'd never heard of Jandek until a few  
> days earlier (he went to see my reading and decided to take in the  
> concert). After the show he said, "I can't imagine the records  
> could equal that." Had to explain that the records were a whole  
> other deal. But really, the man is setting the bar right now. Both  
> of these shows, I felt, put a new high water mark. Where he goes  
> from here will be very exciting.
> gotta go,
> Danen
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