Friday, April 24, 2009


So I attended a free Jandek show at NYU's Kimmel Center today. I'd never heard his music before, but I was intrigued by his fascinating Wikipedia entry. I've also been known to occasionally dabble in 'weird' music. I was sort of expecting a freak show when I went, and, long story short, I got pretty much that. The show had already begun when I walked in, and Jandek and his band were making some cacophanous noises. Jandek, in all black and a black cowboy hat that mostly covered his face from view, was sitting with his guitar on his lap and playing it like a 13 string steel pedal guitar. In addition, there was a saxophonist, a drummer, a bass player, and beautiful young woman singing (although it was more like she was making ethereal high pitched noises into the microphone). The whole song was basically a freaky, atonal jam, and was pretty awesome. In subsequent songs, the woman (name Biba Belle according to my ticket) did strangely hypnotizing dances across the stage. I was seriously in love with this woman. The set list was basically split between freaky jams, and freaky poetry readings. In the latter, Jandek would recite bizarre free verse narratives related generally to drinking, relationships, and existentialism. Unfortunately, it wasn't terribly compelling stuff. I preferred the jams. The musicians were all fantastic, but my favorite, as usual, was the drummer. He had a way of playing where he'd spastically his the sides of the snare rather than the actual drum part, and he'd occasionally bust out some ridiculous rhythms. Jandek's guitar work was also pretty compelling. Basically, he avoided any real chords, and used his ax to make weird noises that somehow sounded good.

Can't say I really enjoyed the show, in fact, when it ended, I was proud of myself for having sat through the full thing. Not that it was too strange for me. Seeing shows from The Boredoms, and Spires That In The Sunset Rise last year, weird music doesn't really faze me. Occasionally I'd realize how silly everything I was witnessing was, and I'd start chuckling. A few altchicks in the back row were really getting into it, screaming "I LOVE YOU JANDEK" at very inopportune moments. At one point, I looked around the auditorium, and realized that I was probably sitting in a room with the 40 or 50 most pretentious music fans at NYU. Not sure how I felt to be in such rare company.

One more thing. Pitchfork just blew up my spot by touting the new Woods album. Can I just say that I bought it a week ago, and really enjoy it?

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