Sunday, September 09, 2007

A nice place to visit, but i wouldn't want to live there

Saw the Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Commodore last night. This will be the second time - last year the show was at Richards. Last year, I was nervous about how it would go - but it was as good as I think BJM show could ever be. It was LOOOONG - not only because of Anton Newcombe's smoke breaks, requests for a pizza, and 15 minute fixation on the final note of the final song.

But that was last year.

The ten second summary of last night is this: band "intro" music running / lights down for about 15 minutes until the band actually walked on stage at midnight; short one hour show, punctuated by Anton's abusive comments at band and audience (more on that later); show abruptly ends when an audience idiot lobs a beer bottle at Anton (here's a link to that unfortunate incident - it is too depressing for me to post here, but take a look if you want), who spits out a confrontational response and concludes that this is the last time he will play Canada. Audience bewildered, hanging on just incase the show wasn't really over. It was.

This is going to be a long one, so I'll break it down:

Audience: By now, I'm sure that everyone that attends a BJM show has seen DIG!, the documentary that came out three or so years ago. I've included a clip from the doc here, because this, fortunately or unfortunately, is the "source material" for audiences. The short version is that you can get Anton to go off like a bomb without too much effort. Unfortunately, for a particular type of audience member, this becomes the purpose of going to the show. It's like watching bear bating, and it makes me ... sad ... actually. And frustrated. I'm there to see the band play, and when they DO play, they're great. As for last night, we were up on the balcony and there was a guy at the table beside us that would yell - "SUCK MY [MALE CHICKEN], YOU [FORNICATING BUNDLE OF STICKS]" - ok, not quite that wording - at any opportunity. And of course he would wave his arms around in joy when the band actually played. One of the guys I was with overheard the same guy in the bathroom - he was punching the wall and frothing over how he wanted to take Anton on. Why, why, why do people like this leave there homes and insist on interacting with the rest of society? Why?

Anton: Where to start. The man is not looking like the best version of himself at this moment in time. Shirtless on stage, he is skinny and kind of ... grey looking. I'm not sure if he is clean right now or not, but if I were the betting kind, I'd say not. And he can be one incredibly cutting, cruel SOB, snapping at an incredibly long suffering band and the audience that paid to get in with fair regularity. But - I have sympathy for the guy. I do believe he is incredibly musically talented, and I also believe that he cannot be anything BUT what he is - an exceedingly difficult, self-destructive musical obsessive (obsessiveness demonstrated by the fact he was behind the sound board for most of the opening act, and between acts, doing who the hell knows what but I'm sure it wasn't fun for the sound guy). I don't think his reactivity is something he can control - and I also think his particular brain can't really understand the consequences of his actions - or at least see clearly enough to learn to manipulate the world around him to his advantage. That brain cannot be a comfortable place to live. Or maybe I'm totally off base, I just can't logic out any other explanation.

The band: Hats of to the long suffering band and crew. Being at the receiving end of that sharp tongue cannot be easy. Not sure why you stay, but I'm glad you do.

So, there it is. And here I am, still slightly bewildered.

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