[Jandek] jandek philadelphia show

ian nauroth ian.nauroth at gmail.com
Thu Apr 17 08:11:55 PDT 2008

Here's that review from the shitty paper.

Pretty harsh, but accurate on some levels. The fans defend him in the

Overall I enjoyed the show. Musically there was some interesting things
going on. The harp is just a beautiful sounding instrument and thus
interesting to see used in a Jandek performance. Jandek's piano playing was
sparse as would be expected. Unfortunately I had some difficulty hearing it
from where I was sitting. The bassoon gave everything this underlying deep
atmospheric tone which was accented by the unconventional clarinetist. He
did things like taking off the mouthpiece and just blowing air through to
create a fluttering sound not unlike bird wings.

The players were all very good, but often seemed to be playing too
independently rather then off of each other. There wasn't much variation in
the overall sound of the songs (this ultimately led to me cutting out
early). The musicians seemed too physically distant from one another to
really be connecting. The bassoon player and the clarinet player were right
next to each other and seemed to be reacting to one another more than anyone

At times throughout the performance you could hear motorcycles and trucks
passing in the street outside prompting Jandek to offer a glimpse of his
sense of humor by ad libbing into the lyrics "that sound is annoying." I
found myself wondering how much of what he was saying was rooted in the
moment. He also seemed to be examining thoughts on expectations and maybe
exploring the idea of keeping up an air of mystery. He also moaned through
some expressions of hopelessness and similarly disheartening themes. In a
welcomed departure from his woeful meanderings he went into an interesting
bit about meeting a woman at a party who had a bloody nose and dancing
around the room with her. I wondered if this was also rooted in actual
events or if it was part of some larger metaphor or imagined folk tale.

I think there have been much better performances based on what I know about
previous shows. It was still pretty good and if nothing else interesting to
see the myth in the flesh. I haven't followed him so closely as of late. I'm
not the hugest fan but I definitely am finding myself with a renewed
interest. It is what it is and anyone who comes to a Jandek show should know
what they are getting themselves into. I think if you are going to see an
artist who is unconventional in every aspect you set yourself up for
disappointment when you expect the same kind of experience you'd get from
your average show. It's a whole separate set of rules and that's what makes
it entertaining. It's the fascination of it all that keeps me interested.
It's wholly unique and that's got nothing to do with being pretentious. That
argument is a rather tired one.

Wow. That turned out to be rather long-winded. Hope you enjoyed it!
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