Jandek @ the Harrison Center for the Arts, Indianapolis - 12/9/06


10 déc. 2006, 15h37m

So, who knows what to expect from a Jandek perfomance? The only live disc I have is Glasgow Sunday and I honestly expected this concert to sound nothing like that, I wasn't wrong. If the Glasgow show was the Jandek Power Trio then the Indianapolis show was the Jandek Jazz Quintet. That's Jandek on guitar/vocals, a drummer, a bassist, a flautist/xylophonist, and a female vocalist/violinist.

Though I list the venue as the august-sounding "Harrison Center for the Arts", that's how it's billed, the concert was actually held in the sanctuary of the Redeemer Presbyterian Church. From the second row the acoustics were phenomenal.

It was interesting to see Jandek the man live, even though he was ten feet from me he didn't give away much more than a picture on the internet. He smiled once, very briefly, and may have said five or six words to his band but never acknowledged or even really looked at the audience. Pale as a ghost and dressed all in black with a black fedora, he looks like some sort of icy cold assassin from a classic film noir movie.

Now to describe the sound... uh, well, first of all don't let the relatively orchestra-like dimensions of the band fool you the music is pure Jandek. It's kind of hard to imagine him renting practice space somewhere and barking out orders like a drill instructor, but if he had they couldn't have sounded any more like an extension of him. The drummer in particular had the Jandek-time down.

Atonal and chaotic. Those are the markedly insufficient buzzwords usually used to describe Jandek, right? It was all of that but it was also sonorous and mesmerizing. I don't wear a watch and I literally had no idea how long I'd been in there until I saw the clock in my car: it was two hours, if asked to guess I would have said four. Jandek-time screwing with my head.

I'd be a liar if I said I recognized any of the songs, a lot of them sounded like his obliquely worded blues moans about lost love. He did sing one with a more narrative structure about, to paraphrase broadly: loving a girl / not wanting to marry her because of his career / riding away on a motorcycle and not looking back / hearing they gave the baby to a lawyer / sometimes I wonder what it would have been like to work in a factory and have a family. It was pretty chilling and bluesy.

Then there's the female singer. I liked her, especially since Jandek focused on his axe a little more when she sang, though it was weird to hear someone else mouthing his lyrics. I have a feeling she could have let go a little more on other material, but was sort of forcing herself into his stop/start phrasing. In any case the songs she sang were some of the best and her violin really added a layer of texture when she wasn't singing.

What else to say? It was real wild and if Corwood ever puts out 'Indianapolis Saturday' I highly recommend it. One more thing, this morning I bought a ticket to his Atlanta show in February, even though for me it means a twelve hour bus ride each way.

Twelve hour bus ride... almost sounds like a Jandek lyric, "I had a twelve hour bus riiiide to get to youuuuu!"

Envois approuvés
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  • L-P

    Awesome. I'm totally envious. Was this the same female vocalist -- Nancy -- from [i]Chair Beside a Window[/i] fame? I really adore her voice. Although, if you say she stuck closely to Jandek's phrasing, then perhaps it wasn't her... Nancy Sings is probably the most beautiful Jandek track I've heard, almost solely due to that woman's voice. Anyway, glad he wasn't a let-down. I should give those [i]Glasgow Sunday[/i] MP3s on my laptop a listen sometime.

    10 déc. 2006, 20h32m
  • pillfeast

    She was pretty young, late 20's or early 30's. I've heard 'Nancy Sings' and it didn't really sound like her.

    10 déc. 2006, 20h58m
  • dIVina-comeDIa

    That must have been a genuinely fascinating experience. I've heard quite a bit about this Jandek fellow by courtesy of the combined PR machine of DarknessFish/L-P, and your review has further piqued my interest.

    10 déc. 2006, 22h35m
  • pillfeast

    But it certainly was that too, I'm glad to be the third wheel on that PR machine. :-P

    10 déc. 2006, 22h58m
  • pillfeast

    Thanks a lot, that Nathan's a hell of a drummer. My favorite moment in the whole show came at the end of probably the second or third to last song. It was sort of a long, winding down, drum and bass duet with them eking out every last drop. Then right at the end he accidentally dropped his sticks and let them clatter on the stage. Slight grin from Jandek, quickly suppressed of course.

    13 déc. 2006, 17h52m
  • pillfeast

    Turns out the bass player was Lester Lammy Johnson and the flautist was George Sparky Smith. Here's a link to a review by someone a bit more professional than myself http://www.marathonpacks.com/ as of now it's the third entry down.

    13 déc. 2006, 18h02m
  • astropolis

    Several years too late here, but... are you from Naptown or something, Pillfeast?

    13 mai 2008, 18h30m
  • pillfeast

    I'm from Terre Haute originally but I was living in Indy at the time of the show, fortunately. Are you a Hoosier?

    14 mai 2008, 17h10m
  • astropolis

    Spent my formative years in Indianapolis. Went to Pike and, briefly, Broad Ripple.

    21 mai 2008, 5h01m
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