Monday, June 06, 2005

Malkmus & Jicks w/Paik @ Black Cat, 4 June 2005

Watching Steven Malkmus in a crowded room of his diverse Jicks fans - who all seem to have a serious smoking problem had me thinking that there needs to be a transformation in clubs just as there is an ongoing transformation of rock to post-rock.

I'm thinking more of a Blues Alley set-up with chairs, waitresses, tables and maybe a small dancing area (and, of course, a no smoking area). I'm tired of standing shoulder to shoulder waiting for interminable lengths of time for a band to come on (at least 45 minutes between sludgadelics Paik and Mr. M.). I'm also calling for a ban or at least a social stigma on people coming to shows to socialize. There's a downstairs bar for that - so shut the f up or go home and have a party. This is especially true for some of the quieter post-rock acts although I suppose its also incumbent on the artist to be electrifying enough to silence everyone (Sufjan Stevens did it for at least his first song several months back). Yes, I know that BC or 930 would probably not be able to fit as many people as they currently pack into their club but I'd be willing to pay twice as much to see a show in a comfortable setting among an audience that appreciatess the artist and the other audience members who feel that paying $20 and up to stand around and hear people chatter on their cell phones above a roaring crowd just and crane their necks to get a glance at the band they actually came to see.

Or maybe I'm just an old geezer who cant stand for extended periods of time anymore without getting cranky.

Malkmus did a bunch of songs from his new best ever album and from what I could hear and see sounded and looked great (for Malkmus, at least). You don't go to his shows to see any great guitar playing although he's able to coax a few good sounds out of the axe. His new batch of songs seem to be a mixture of Terrapin Station, Sgt. Pepper and Sonic Nurse (and about a hundred other great albums). Mysterious and cryptic, the songs bear up after repeated listenings and although I had only heard it twice are distinctive enough that I recognized them when they were performed live.

Openers Paik only serenaded me with their final song and repetitive grinding blunt guitar-led squall (they are all instrumentals) that was mercifully ended when the guitar amp blew. Although I liked an MP3 I recently heard, I recognized its limitations (um, some chemical enhancements may improve the listening experience). I missed their other songs but if this was a sample, then I'm somewhat glad I arrived late.


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