A vague plan to write about the new White Denim album this morning, comprehensively derailed when I discovered this amazing footage on Youtube. It features the elusive Jandek playing what is allegedly his first ever live show in his hometown of Houston.
The legend of Jandek is built on mystery, distance, intangible – sometimes tangible – sadness, and the fetishisation of the most desolate, sometimes virtually amusical, lo-fi. Since he started playing live four or five years ago, however, Jandek has become, if not exactly socialised, a fractionally less ethereal figure. One constructed, somehow, of flesh and blood.
I can’t imagine any Jandek fans, however, can have expected this latest experiment. A show in Houston a couple of nights ago seems to have matched up Jandek with two funk session musicians. The result – and I’m certain it isn’t a hoax – turned out to be a 75-minute mutant funk jam, with heavy nudges to early ‘80s New York disco-not-disco; Jandek’s vocal styling here is rather reminiscent of David Byrne.
So anyway, it’s unbelievably bizarre, not least when he starts sparring with the bassist, but also excellent. It’s Jandek’s habit to often release his ad hoc live hook-ups on CD – watching these clips, it’d be great to have this one on DVD. But have a look (assuming my rudimentary Youtube embedding skills are up to scratch) yourself. Seeing, Jandek fans, is believing…