[Jandek] London Monday

Gavin gavin at arkhonia.co.uk
Sat Jun 21 08:52:42 PDT 2008

The Monday Jandek show was announced with flyers on every seat at the
Sunday show that just said 'JANDEKPLAYSCAFEOTOTOMORROW", so if you
were at the first show you couldn't not know about the second. Cafe
OTO is a nice intimate open space with some tables and chairs,
but enough space to stand all around the performance area, there being no
real separation between the audience and the stage, so there was no
sense of 'entrance' (or exit) prior to the Jandek show, the first of
four bands playing. The Corwood Rep was seen rushing in a few minutes
prior to the start of the show, and hung around near the bar at the
back, before walking forward and unpacking his guitar, and the general
intimacy of the show made this seem both natural and confortable - I
saw a lot of people there who were at the Sunday show, and there
seemed to be a much more relaxed feeling from both audience and
performers than the formality of the night before. 

Matt Heyner played bass again, the same 5 string apart from one song
with bowed double bass (there seemed to be amplification problems with
the acoustic bass, but the size of the venue meant that his playing
could still be heard next to the drums and guitar), the Rep had the
same guitar and tone as last night, but with a more pronounced tremelo
- Chris Corsano replaced Pete Nolan on drums (playing the same kit as
Pete from last night)...but despite the superficial similarity of the
band setup, right from the opening of the first song this was
obviously a different thing entirely: a fully instrumental set, with
blurs of percussion from Chris, and really heavy supportive riffing
from Matt as the framework for some hugely abrasive stabbing guitar
from The Rep - the most obvious impression I got was of a 'space-rock'
Jandek, some songs starting with a building tension that suddenly
burst into riffing that wouldn't have sounded out of place in a
Krautrock parallel universe, the closest recorded similarity maybe
being 'The Electric End', but with musicians that could take the music
somewhere that track never gets close to. It was genuinely exciting,
and also fun, being a few steps away from garageband jamming, and also
seemingly without the imposed structure of having to support a lyric
and a vocal performance, so that The Rep's playing really let loose,
liberated from the need of a structure, and supported by astonishing

The set was just over an hour, and was recorded and filmed, with one
camera being whip-panned across the audience between songs (I think it
caught me at one point!), and hopefully the closeness of performers
and audience will come across on the video. After the set The Rep
disappeared, and there was the mass smoker's exodus outside, and I
missed the MV Carbon set that followed, but The Rep was back in the
crowd for the Spectre Folk Trio set, being Pete Nolan with John
Edwards on double bass and Ray Dickerty (from Solar Fire Trio) on sax,
and this was a great fully acoustic free jazz set, again a lot of fun,
contributing to a really comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere - I'd
never seen John Edwards play before, and the sight of him slapping and
assaulting his bass was geuinely exciting (love to see him and Corsano
play together!), and Pete Nolan's drumming was even freer than his
playing from last night, although I don't know how objective I can be
about how good a performance it was, as for me it just supported the
huge amount of goodwill and enjoyment of the night in general.

Final set was Corsano-Flower duo, who I've seen a few times, but this
was just astonishing, with support from Matt, who only occasionally
played bass, but emerged barefoot from the toilets as the set started
wearing a white sheet and parts of a drum kit casing, as some kind of
cavorting balletic tortoise (bass drum case on back), and where it
might have seemed absurd if it were a 'performance', there was a
naturalness to it, as if anything were acceptable and appropriate in
such a relaxed atmosphere, and that this 'anything' was actually a
bunch of friends (band and audience) enjoying a kind of conversation,
with a balance of form  and playfulness - Mick's Japan Banjo playing
(I'm holding with the Klaus Dinger attribution of the instrument's
name) was really light in parts, like some of the exotic strumming on
Kraftwerk's 'Ananas Symphonie', and Matt beat his 'shell' with his
bass bow until it broke...I'm writing both this and the Sunday
accounts purely for the benefit of those non-attendees who need to
know what happened, but I don't think I can convey how very special
the night felt - and as a visitor to London (from Manchester), and in
the company of a bunch of great people, most of whom I had only really
met the day before, I took the evening as being in some ways typical
of this kind of London gig, but the explosion of the audience at the
end of Mick and Chris' set made me realise that *everyone* seemed to
know how special the night was - people I was with all looked at each
after as the audience roared behind us like "where the hell did *that*
come from?!?"...and, as the Unluck post-gig mailout so correctly says:

> Wow. Thank you to those who made it along to be part of the two
> incredible events we hosted on Sunday and Monday. We couldn't have
> asked for more. The image of the rep pulling shapes to
> Flower/Corsano/Heyner will hang long in the memory.

I felt deeply privileged to be there, to see everyone play, but also to
be at a Jandek gig that was just music for the joy of it, and all
ideas of 'mystery', obscurity, reclusiveness, and most of all
seriousness being part of a solitary listener's projections - to see
The Rep drinking with new friends, chatting with women, enjoying the
music and the atmosphere, and then disappearing off into the night
with guitar in hand long after most everyone else had left *will* hang
very long in the memory.


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