[Jandek] Dublin Friday

Paul Condon paulgcondon at gmail.com
Sat Jun 14 09:09:19 PDT 2008

The venue was basically a large concrete gallery. The Rep played an acoustic
that was miked but also went through a pickup, with a quick delay effect on
it. The set consisted of a suite with about eight parts, called He Said
Nothing. It started off quite understated and quiet, getting much more
intense by the end. The lyrics were some of his densest and most poetic to
date. The narrative involved a gathering where an audience are listening
attentively to a speech, and are very impressed by the speaker - all except
the narrator, who sees that despite the speaker's convoluted language, he
isn't really saying anything, and is amazed that the adoring audience are
oblivious to this fact. It's a hot afternoon and the narrator begins to
sweat, but doesn't want to go to the trouble of removing his jacket. He's
irritated that the speech is making it hard to concentrate on his daydreams
about his loved one. The title was used a lyrical hook and repeated a few
times throughout. That's about all I can remember, but the lyrics were very
complex and verbose, and hard to follow consistently. Communication and
creativity seemed to be the main themes. The guitar playing involved a lot
of open strings, with some outstanding licks and really satisfying dissonant
chords. It was similar to the recent non-live albums, but, I'd say, better,
and the sound was excellent.

The general reaction seemed to be good: I only saw one walk-out! A couple of
my friends (both of whom had heard Jandek before) found it very intense and
draining and were unable to decide if they actually enjoyed it as such, but
found it a worthwhile experience and were glad they went. One of them said
that he felt very uncomfortable listening to this intimate material in the
company of another hundred people. It was very much like witnessing one of
the solo albums live.

One minor complaint some people had was that the gallery phone wasn't
switched off and could be heard ringing early in the set. It was quite
distant though, and I doubt if it'll be audible on the recording. Some
others found the cameraman distracting - he did seem to take a few audience
shots. It was quite amusing watching the Rep leaving at the end, with the
cameraman following a few feet behind, filming.

The book of album art was on sale for €15 - it features reproductions of
about half of the album covers with all of them in smaller versions over
three pages at the back. The two short essays are quite good. It's a pity
that not all the covers are featured in the main body of the book, and that
it's not in a slightly larger format, but it's still an attractive item.
There'll be a limited number of signed copies available soon.
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