[Jandek] Northern Ireland July

draw draw at drawingsilence.com
Fri Jul 31 17:39:52 PDT 2009

That's a fantastic review. Thank you for posting!

Paul Condon wrote:
> Larne was easily the weirdest situation of the tour. The venue was the
> upstairs function room of the Older Fleet, the sort of place that
> might normally host small wedding receptions and the like. The locals
> drinking downstairs seemed bemused by the activity. There were
> probably about two dozen people in the room including musicians.
> Christina Carter played a very hypnotic, rambling and woozy solo
> guitar set, mostly improvised, with little singing. It was her first
> solo show for a while and each of her four sets of the tour were a
> little more intense and structured than the last.
> There was no stage in the room, so the band were set up on the floor
> along the length of the room with the audience seated opposite. All
> the sets on the tour consisted of a single piece, this one lasting for
> over 70 minutes. Heather Leigh Murray played with slide and
> essentially applied her pedal steel technique to the bass. David
> Keenan was also something of a revelation. His playing was extremely
> brutal and heavy, and rather than keeping time as such he played
> simple but shifting patterns. I thought he fell somewhere between the
> unschooled drumming on the early electric albums and the more
> considered free playing of Corsano and Nielson and at times reminded
> me of Fushitsusha's Ikuro Takahashi. The Rep also played some slide.
> As with all five Jandek sets, there was only one line of lyrics,
> repeated at intervals. This time it was an insistent "Get in the
> photo". I'm pretty sure there was some harmonica too (general tour
> chaos plus lack of sleep and excess of alcohol has dulled my
> recollection of details somewhat... but if you remember Larne Sunday,
> you weren't really there!). Overall it was probably the most chaotic
> and intense Jandek gig I'd seen. It was slightly reminiscent of what
> we now know as Tribal Ether, mainly due to Heather's presence, but
> much harsher and more jagged, and reminded me a lot of Mars and
> Fushitsusha. Towards the end of the set, you could see lorries rolling
> onto the ferry through the mock-porthole windows at the end of the
> room. One inebriated middle-aged local made it through most of the
> set, at one point staggering around and shouting for Whiskey in the
> Jar. Unfortunately he couldn't be heard above the PA, so his request
> wasn't met.
> Bangor is a pleasant and picturesque seaside town, and The Black Boat
> hosts a younger clientele than the Larne venue, and had a more relaxed
> atmosphere. Again, the venue was an upstairs function room, this time
> with a stage. The seating was on a raised platform with a railing
> around it. Agitated Radio Pilot opened, with myself on bass. It was
> nerve-wracking given who was listening but we managed to get through
> it ok. Christina's set was a bit more structured and dynamic than that
> in Larne, with a little more vocals. The Jandek set was very loud,
> starting off slow, bleak and very doomy, reminding me a little of
> Khanate. David's drumming was particularly violent, so much so that
> the hi-hat eventually fell apart. The soundman was dissuaded from his
> attempts to put it back together, and David placed the top half on the
> snare and continued playing. The guitar sounded a bit tinny and
> shrill, and the bass dominated the sound, starting off with throbbing
> pulses and moving on to slide. This time the line was "I like shoes
> more than men" (!). I think this was the shortest of the evening sets,
> lasting around an hour.
> Next was the HMV instore. The band were set up by the locked back door
> of the shop and cordoned off, partially with a wall of Guitar Hero
> boxes. The "get closer to Jandek" posters were particularly amusing,
> as was hearing I Passed By the Building being played like a hit single
> over the sound system before and after the set. The music itself was
> much more understated, beautiful and psychedelic than any of the night
> time gigs, befitting the time of day and location, and lasted about
> half an hour. I originally though the lyric was either "Art is
> everything" of "Our love is everything" but I was later told by
> someone with a better view that it was "I want everything" (or maybe
> "I wanted everything"?) - a succinct commentary on the perils of
> materialism in this very temple of capitalism, no doubt! This is one
> I'd listen to a lot if it was released. Onlookers consisted of a few
> familiar faces from the other gigs as well as a few curious music
> nerds, and at one point a couple of young children stood right at the
> barrier, intrigued by the strange man in the hat and his strange
> music. There were also a succession of passers-by peering in the
> window as the band played. Given what a crazy idea this appearance
> seemed, it worked amazingly well. And when you think of it, the
> average person who might pop in to HMV on their lunch break would
> probably be no more nonplussed by Jandek than most obscure /
> underground racket makers, and there was no Rite of Spring type riot.
> That night's show was in the Black Box, quite a large hall with a
> fairly big stage and (finally!) a decent choice of ales at the bar,
> and the turnout was the best of the tour at around forty payers.
> Christina's set was bluesier and more harrowing than the previous two.
> The Jandek set started with martial drums and more pulsing bass (and
> less slide tonight), and the most distorted guitar tone I've heard
> from Jandek. As you already know from that hilariously pompous review,
> the lyric was "Last exit to Belfast". The drumming was more repetitive
> and rhythmic than before. The players seemed to be locked into their
> own grooves which would flow in and out of sync with each other. There
> was a nice shift from 4/4 to 3/4 and back at one point. At about the
> halfway point of the set, the music became spare and disjointed, with
> lots of angular call-and-response between the players, with everyone
> mostly landing on different beats. It had quite a tense feel because
> for a while the music seemed about to come to an abrupt end but
> someone would always answer the last phrase. However it got going
> again, but and it did end definitively and satisfyingly, with a full
> stop that neatly recalled the jerky mid-section.
> The venue in Derry was Sandino's, with the stage at the end of a long
> upstairs room full of kitsch furniture and posters for foreign movies
> that nobody I spoke to had heard of. There was actually a large
> ballroom and stage behind the area that was used but it would have
> been excessive in this case. Christina really went for it vocally this
> time, and her set seemed like the culmination of the gradual
> development over her performances. There was some electrical hum in
> the PA that actually worked quite atmospherically with her guitar.
> The Jandek trio were seated for this one. They started off tentatively
> but within a couple of minutes, got into something really solid and it
> remained so for the rest of the set. The lyric was "I'm afraid I don't
> know, I'm useless", which sounded to me like a snippet of overheard
> Irish self-deprecation, taken as a confession of worthlessness. It was
> sung a lot more than any of the other lyrics, and to greater effect,
> the phrase deconstructed and mulled over in a way that justified the
> one-line approach. David's drumming even occasionally strayed into
> fairly straightforward time-keeping. I think I actually heard him
> improve and become more assured as a drummer over the course of the
> tour! The guitar was distorted, with a lot of slide used. For me it
> was the most successful set after the instore, I found it highly
> satisfying and could have easily listened to another hour or so of it.
> There was a very minor scuffle at the back of the room in the latter
> half of the set, when a drunken young idiot who continued to talk
> loudly and continuously after being asked to refrain from doing so was
> pushed off his stool. It might seem drastic but he was really asking
> for it, and his assailant did something most of us must have
> fantasized about in similar situations, and the loud guy was
> eventually thrown out. The two were brought together to shake hands
> later, and though the fellow who did the pushing apologized profusely,
> the loud guy continued being an obnoxious dick and had to be ejected
> yet again. This is what happens when you leave the galleries and play
> in the pubs! Luckily none of this was noticeable to the performers at
> the time.
> Taken together, the five Jandek sets were cut from the same cloth, as
> if making up a vast five-hour cycle. This rhythm section took a more
> dominant role than usual leading to what must be the wildest and most
> brutal Jandek music to date. It was really something to see five
> Jandek sets (and four Christina Carter sets) in four days. The idea of
> this tour may have seemed crazy, and it was never going to make
> financial sense, but the promoters, James Ryder and James Clarke
> (along with Iain Gray and soundmen for all but Derry, Bernard and
> Andy), managed to make the seemingly impossible (or at least the
> highly improbable) a reality, and it felt like an heroic venture,
> bringing the music to the people, whether they wanted it or not!
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