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22. Apr. 2012, 19:30

Sat 21 Apr – Jandek

The sat-nav successfully found its way to the fairly obscure location of St Margaret's church in Whalley Range, confirmation of destination was provided by the usual avant-garde-gig-giveaway of a handful of students and middle-aged men lingering around the streets. The church itself seemingly being picked because it just looks like a latter-day Jandek album cover. The heavens threatened to open as we queued outside the church, chatting to a pony-tailed bloke who hopefully will provide me with a recording of the gig, and some journos who I didn't recognise.

Led inside, we sat on the small wooden pews facing the altar, capacity couldn't have been more than 150, especially as half the church seems to be given away to a nursery these days. Alex Neilson and Richard Youngs were wandering about, but Jandek obviously doesn't mix (the lanky diva!). 30 mins later, something was obviously about to unfold as Neilsen and Youngs headed to their seats, and lo... a lanky stooped fella strolled from stage left, and sat down, guitar in hand. Clothed entirely in black (with hat, obviously), and with the full ginger face-fuzz of the Khartoum cover, looking quite pale indeed. With no introduction or acknowledgement of the audience, it was difficult at first to tell if they'd started or were tuning up, but Neilsen's slow brushing of the drums quickly turned into full jazz-club improv batterings, and something approximating a groove was struck.

Must have been a full 10 minutes before Sterling rocked the mic (psyche), but you hardly needed to hear the voice to know this was the genuine 'dek; those spine-chilling high-pitched off-key chords, are a revelation in the flesh as Jandek twangs his plectrum awkwardly off the top two strings. On bass, Youngs looks bored throughout, but has obviously taught (un-taught?) himself to play like Houston's finest, as you could swear some of his bass-playing was straight from those nigh-on unlistenable solo-bass albums of the early noughties. Neilsen was a constant hive of activity, clattering, banging, switching sticks, trying to get the tom in place, making proper-jazz sex-faces as he skittered around the compact toy-like kit. When Sterling finally got to the mic, the revelation was complete, the full-on pained blues-howl of I Threw You Away was unleashed, and some great philosophical soundbites were unfurled, which I made a mental note to recall, and therefore obviously haven't the foggiest idea now what he was singing about.

For roughly 90 minutes, they sat and played, without resorting to audience interaction at all, beyond waiting for applause to subside. Given the lineup, it's no surprise that it was Glasgow Sunday-esque in sound, but it had much more clarity, and a couple of absolutely awesome quiet introspective tracks, where the croon-howl demurred into a whisper, and the ultra-intimacy of Jandek of yore was attainted. For the last track, two of the younger ladies of the audience even provided entertainment in the form of clunky unfortunate dancing, a sight which deserved to be captured on video, but no DVD of this performance seems likely. And then, Jandek pulled some leads up, and walked off stage. Youngs and Neilsen followed. Shouts for an encore were ignored, the audience milled around for a few minutes, and kind of ebbed away in a puzzled manner only when Neilsen started dismantling his kit. Which was really a fitting close to the entire night.

Kommentare

  • sunheadbowed

    Haha. Great review. That is -exactly- how it was.

    23. Apr. 2012, 23:40
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