Jay Reatard - The Lexington, London - 26/11/08
27 Nov 2008
"at the end of whatever this was, when jay ascends a speaker and starts throwing things like bass drum cases at a crowd he would much rather cut the crap with and just punch square in the communal face (that something like this would happen at the climax was somewhat inevitable from the first note onwards), you certainly feel like you've been to a gig...
You watch some bands (the last time I felt this was with Animal Collective) and want to become their best buddies, find out what makes them tick, discover what in their psyche is responsible for spewing out the brilliant music that they make. You watch some bands and you want to be their next new member, because being in that band looks like the most purposeful, forceful, beautiful fun a human being could be having at that moment. Some bands are like a self help group.
Watching Jay Reatard however is like being bullied by three really obnoxious and very loud people at the same time in front of all your friends, who are all receiving the same treatment simultaneously. And none of you are going to stand up for yourselves because, even en masse, your combined malice is no match for what a really horrid, unpleasant and bratty person Jay Reatard comes across as. Ninety percent of the room might be better looking than this band. But we're the ones who come away from the whole experience feeling like we're worth nothing.
Jay Reatard and his band (a hairy, Hawaiian shirted drummer and a hairy, continually open mouthed bassist) can only make this whole endeavour (trial?) worthwhile by making the kind of music they make - which is the sound of condensing all that happens in a seven minute hair metal song in to a blistering one hundred and twenty second existence, thereby creating a punk rock masterpiece with every song - stopping for a semi-moment, announcing the title of another tune that sounds decidedly similar to all that came before and all that will follow, and launching full throttle in to the mire once again. Only by making a sound like this can you win over a crowd by seeming this unpleasant. What is obviously a deftly pre-planned stage persona, works like a bloody charm.
At the end of whatever this was, when Jay ascends a speaker and starts throwing things like bass drum cases at a crowd he would much rather cut the crap with and just punch square in the communal face (that something like this would happen at the climax was somewhat inevitable from the first note onwards), you certainly feel like you've been to a gig. And you don't get that with Leonard Cohen.