Jandek Doc cont

This comes via Chiz, a very accurate description of the performances by someone named Gavin on the Jandek email list:

[Jandek] Bristol gig report
Gavin gavin at ********.co.uk
Thu May 18 10:15:56 PDT 2006

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The two sets were with a trio of Chris Corsano (as announced), playing a nice shiny Pearl kit (rather than his usual ‘total Frankenstein model’), and Mick Flower (instead of Matt Heyner), playing a black Telecaster in the first set, and then his Japanese banjo for the second; both sets were about 70 minutes each, and consisted of long songs, the opener of the first set being almost 20 minutes, and most averaging 15 minutes minimum. The overall tone of the first set was pretty brutal, and ‘typical’ inasmuch as there was a similarity with the sound of ‘Glasgow Sunday’ and ‘Newcastle Sunday’, but Chris Corsano’s playing felt different to Alex Neilson’s on these occasions…having seen Chris playing solo and in various combinations prior to this, and being partly familiar with some aspects of his playing, this was a surprise inasmuch as his responses to the guitar were similar to the drumming on the mid-period records: heavy pulsing and pounding rhythms that followed the rhythms of the guitar (Corsano/Flower duo performances I’ve seen have a ‘pulse’ that they both seem to lock into at certain points, but this was different again).

The Corwood Representative played in his usual style of stabbing, heavily strummed guitar work, whilst Mick added a more droning guitar style – seemed like his open tuning included some strings tuned to the same note, and others a fifth above, creating a ‘chorus’-like effect of dissonance. His playing allowed notes to ring out more, at some points using a slide, and providing a contrast to the other guitar. At times it seemed to almost provide a droning ‘pedal note’ which underlayed the pieces, something which Flower uses reguarly in the Corsano/Flower duo with the Japanese banjo (thanks to Danny Saul for the above observations).

The second set seemed to have a different ‘character’ to the first, but it was only different by degrees, although Mick Flower’s Japanese banjo (either bowed, or strummed and plucked) did add something to the sound that I’ve not heard in any of the recent live performances or recordings, especially in combination with Chris’ bowing of parts of his kit – and where the first set started full-on, the second began in a much more subdued way, and I could have listened to that combination of scratching and scraping and muttering for a very long time indeed…

The venue was perfect, being a 110-seat cinema, and a surprisingly loud PA (I’d imagined it to sound less overwhelmingly oppressive than it did – felt like my teeth were vibrating through the first song, and I had a killing headache after the first set – but I was front row, pretty much in front of the left side speakers), and the place seemed pretty full, at least for the first set; some people seemed to leave about half way through the second, and one wag in the audience complained that it was ‘too loud’, and that it was hurting his ears when there was a lull prompted by a fire alarm bell – The Corwood Representative (there needs to be an easier way of saying this…as far as I’m concerned Jandek is the collective onstage rather than any individual) seemed amused at this point, whether prompted by the audience comment or by the interjection of the alarm.

Observations: the way the lyrics were selected (from the usual ringbound book on a music stand) seemed haphazard, with a lot of flicking back and forth, and then a kind of nodding of confirmation to himself before turning towards Chris and cranking out the opening chord; the first song’s lyrics were a variation on the ATP opener, only this time it was ‘You’re only 22…’ rather than ‘I’; one song’s only lyrics were ‘Wrap it up/Give me your presents’ (or something like that – didn’t make notes unfortunately), echoing the ‘On The Way’ song title; when the musicians came on, the black hat was put on once onstage (the same thing happened at Gateshead), as if the wearing of the hat was part of the ritual and the ‘persona’; and, as per usual, there was no acknowledgement or eye contact with the audience, although Chris grinned at the obvious audience appreciation; both sets were recorded and filmed, and a person sat next to the cameraman at the end of the second set clapped and clapped and whooped, and I couldn’t decide whether this was drunken enthusiasm or the ‘rabble-rousing’described at the end of the Austin gig…it seemed a bit disingenuous (and quite obviously didn’t prompt an encore).

I was that cameraman, and too was confused by the possibly disingenuous enthusiasm from the man beside me, but given his other reactions through the shows I think he was genuinely (over) enthusiastic.

The person who complained about the sound levels was projections volunteer Tom Taylor – he explained after he is very careful with his hearing, having suffered some hearing damage before, and certain higher frequencies at a loud volume are incredibly painful for him. After leaving he actually listened to, and enjoyed, the set from outside – though others did leave presumably because they couldn’t take the performance at all.

Jandek on flickr (photos of recent shows)

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