[Jandek] "Irvine Saturday"

Michael Martin michaelmartin71 at sbcglobal.net
Mon Jan 10 07:41:49 PST 2011

Hello all,
Did anyone else attend the show this past Saturday? I was curious to get impressions on the event. Having attended the show in Davis recently ("Davis Friday") I must say it was an entirely different affair. Davis was a four-piece, psychedelic ensemble with guitar, stand-up bass, a non-traditional drum kit, and the Rep on 2 keyboards. The Irvine show was simply bass, drums and the Rep on a Fender electric.
The Davis show? I loved it, well worth the 8 hour drive.
The Irvine show? A big disappointment, and only 20 minutes from home. 
The drummer pretty much overshadowed everything going on during the performance, as he played louder than any drummer I've ever witnessed. Mike Watt's bass was drowned out most of the time, and the Rep's guitar playing was so minimal that at times I wondered if his gear had failed. He was strumming, but all I could hear was subdued bass and crashing, in-your-face-rock-and-roll drumming. In short, it didn't feel like a Jandek show. 
The improvistation was lazy and uninspired for most of the show, and the term "retarded rock" kept coming to mind. It sounded like garage musicians just noodling around during practice. Davis had a "Wow, these guys are creating magic in the moment" kind of feel, whereas Irvine had a "When is this going to get interesting?" feel. It wasn't compelling in the least, and I felt like the show was not what it could've been. The line-up had no magic. The standing ovation at the end had me scratching my head, wondering if the audience would've felt the same if they'd seen him in better form elsewhere. I would've liked to have heard what Henry Rollins thought (I spotted him a couple of rows back) but he was out of there before I could say hi.
I'd certainly see Jandek play live again, as I can only imagine a better show than what we got Saturday night. I drove to work this morning while listening to "Follow Your Footsteps" and felt far more entertained and appreciative than I did after Saturday's show.
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