[Jandek] Baltimore Saturday

Sam Eddington sameddington at hotmail.com
Sat Nov 14 21:13:06 PST 2009

Went to the Baltimore show tonight, and have to say that it was certainly an interesting Jandek performance. If Nashville was his idea of a country show, then Baltimore was...his idea of an industrial show. It was, without question, the most confrontational, abrasive sound that I've ever heard from Corwood. The percussion player spent large portions of the show playing a saw and cymbals with a violin bow, using it to create ear-piercing squeals; the pedal steel player attacked her instrument as if she were trying to kill it, often using it as a percussion instrument, and the electronics shrieked in the background while the Rep's guitar groaned. The best way I can describe it is to imagine the Rep fronting Einsturzende Neubauten, or maybe Throbbing Gristle, or, in the quieter moments, a particularly angry John Cage. Occasionally, truly pummeling beats emerged from the murk, and it really did take on an industrial edge.

Most of it was spoken or semi-spoken; lyrically, it seemed to be a concept set about "defeating the evil side of me." It ended on what for Jandek seemed a positively triumphant note lyrically -- but the lyrics were followed by a solid half hour of punishing noise that makes "The Electric End" sound like Nick Drake. Towards the end, the Rep got out his harmonica, and just blew on the highest notes as hard as he could. Never heard anything quite like it from Jandek.

I took a photo after the show was over of a copy of the "sheet music" that the musicians were working from that had been left on the stage. I attached it for the curious :)

BTW, the personnel for the show were:

The Rep: voice, 11-string fretless guitar, harmonica
Susan Alcorn: electric pedal steel

                Twig Harper: electronics

                Jason Willett: electronics
Dan Breen: percussion, slide whistle

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