Tuesday, December 18, 2012

DVD Review: The Jesus Lizard: Club

Text © Robert Barry Francos/FFanzeen, 2013
Images from the Internet
The Jesus Lizard: Club
Directed by Matthew Robison
74 minutes, 2009 / 2011

Let’s get the technical stuff outta the way first: this show was taped on the first stop of the Jesus Lizard’s reunion tour on Bastille Day, 2009, at the large and packed Exit/In Club, in Nashville, TN. The circuit was the first time the band had played together in a decade.  Now, let’s tawk.

If they had formed ten years earlier than 1987, they may have been labeled as No Wave, but because they got to share a split 7” with Nirvana, and recorded with Steve Albini in Chicago, they were more known as “Alternative.” Their sound is full of dissonant notes, repetition, and singer David Yow’s yowling (please tell me I’m not the first one to do that combination of words). After their song was included in the film cult film Clerks (1994), they signed briefly with Capitol Records.

The Jesus Lizard was known for being bellicose in the post-punk days, when bands were becoming more sedate after the rush of hardcore aggression. While they would never reach the levels of, say, GG Allin for assaulting their audience, they were still the real deal. One might compare them in intensity to, oh, possibly down-under’s Rose Tattoo, though their sounds are incredibly different.

The audience for this show is definitely up on JL, as they applaud as soon as the first notes of the song are played. Always good for when recording a show for posterity. For me, I never had the opportunity to see them live, so this gives a front row center view. Strangely, I don’t see much slamming, even with Yow’s occasional stagediving and crowd surfing (with his being chubby, sweaty and shirtless, I wouldn’t want to be the one hoisting him).  Bouncers keep the stage clear for anyone joining in on the diving.

Watching the band hammer away, it is clear to see that they know their chops, with the sounds coming out actually being quite complex, just being overlaid together to clashing and crashing.  As for the vocals, well Yow is musically rambunctious, occasionally reminding me of outsider singer the Legendary Stardust Cowboy. Don’t expect to make out too many of the lyrics. Or hardly any. And perhaps I shouldn’t mention his passing resemblance to Peter Tork…

The sound is quite crisp, and probably giving a better picture of the band’s true flavor. In fact, probably better than the Albini sessions where Yow was barely heard over the din. This puts him where he belongs, front and center.

If you were a fan of the band in their heyday, this will certainly not disappoint, and in fact, bring some relatively clarity to what you were imagining in your head about the group.

Track Listing
Destroy Before Reading
Blue Shot
Killer McHann
One Evening
Then Comes Dudley
Monkey Trick
7 vs. 8
Fly on the Wall
My Own Urine
Dancing Naked Ladies
Bloody Mary
Wheelchair Epidemic


No comments:

Post a Comment