[Jandek] Atlanta Saturday

Danen D. Jobe djobe at uark.edu
Tue Feb 20 15:59:38 PST 2007

> Can anyone provide information about how the Atlanta show went?

Been meaning to get back on this, but the constraints of travel have meant my time has been limited. I'll take a quick shot at it, though.

1. The Academy of Medicine was an AMAZING venue - chandeliers from "Gone with the Wind," acoustically nice auditorium. Really something.

2. For a variety of technical reasons, the auditorium stayed closed until around 7. At about 7:40 or so Mike Goldman (a HELL of a guy) excitedly took the stage and listed off the usual "no cameras, etc" business. Emphasis was placed on camera phones. He also noted that the show would consist of "meditative music" and asked people to wait until a song was finished if they needed to leave the auditorium. He called the show a "labor of love" and strode off.

3. VERY shortly after Mike left the stage the band came on. They walked from behind a proscenium curtain and took their instruments. In the far stage left corner (right side of stage to audience) was a baby grand piano. The Corwood Rep set down his standard satchel, removed bound notebook with lyrics and waited. Meanwhile, the rest of the musicians got in place: bass clarinet, violin, and a really unique percussion set-up that included gongs, vibes, toms, and these cool black things that gave much of the music a rather Asian flavor.

4. The opening number was instrumental, as with "The Cell" and "Duality of Self." This gave everyone a chance to get on the same page, and was quite lovely. A similar tone was kept through the next few numbers, where diversity between songs was largely placed on the AMAZING violinist and clarinetist. At times, the bass clarinet provided a bit of a groove, but most of the songs were "meditative" indeed. Slight variations on similar progressions. Amazingly, the violin and clarinet were often of a mind, and would slide through scales with astounding synchronization. Often, when not in the sing/speak tone we've come to expect at these sorts of shows, the Corwood Rep would do some interesting runs up and down the piano, utilizing a lot of the highest keys. Meantime, the percussionist was all over, and flavored each song with different techniques: sometimes more of a beat, sometimes a bowed or struck cymbal, sometimes the Asian flavored percussion.

5. The lyrics (starting with the second song) were aptly summed up by an audience member I overheard as "the Matrix Suite." Opening line: "I don't mean to spoil the party." Reality is not there. Those who discover this have a harder life than those who do not. There are guards who will stalk them, keep them from realizing happiness. In one number, he sings of living a "contented life" filled with material possessions. He speaks of having a nice house, and someone arriving everyday to work there "building machines." He never goes out. Then he does. The more he realizes, the harder it gets. There are many philosophical and interesting passages. Then, the bottom drops out:

6. A song known as "the jazz number." This, I'll say right off, is the single best thing I've ever seen him do. Bar none. The band goes NUTS, a Cecil Taylor-esque utter pounding, with the toms going Moe Tucker-style and the clarinetist heading "out" like Eric Dolphy. This was incredible, the music was building to a total frenzy, passing that, and then...it slows down. The toms continue as the lyrics describe the final run from reality. This leads to the line "but I escaped," and then everyone - on a dime - proceeds to attack their instruments again. Their was a R O A R of applause after this piece - which lasted well over 20 minutes. Unbelievable.

7. And this leads to "Death's Door," where our narrator describes (over again-calm music) walking past said barrier and being "unable to turn back." But wait, there's nothing there! You float around. You get a sense of being somewhere, can feel a connection, but it's not material. Not like the world we all know. This takes us through two tracks (no closing instrumental) and then - reality kindly demolished - the band packed up. Their was a standing ovation and tremendous applause. The band seemed to want to get the Corwood Rep to turn around and see the crowd go nuts, but...off the stage they went. There was a feeling of accomplishment.

8. Look forward to this. 

As I have more thoughts, I'll post them. Truly amazing night. Mesmerizing.

And now - Richmond!


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