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Friday, December 11

2009, Well do ya?

2009, a year for the ages, a year for the record books, a year to remember, a year to forget….mainly forget. Sure, highs and lows abounded in 2009, but let’s not fly that helicopter Stevie Ray Vaughn style into the side of a mountain just yet. There are great and awesome things in the world, such as the absolute whirlwind that is The Jesus Lizard and the tour-de-force of distros, Carrot Top. Don’t believe me? You will, you will. (Shameless plug #1: You can order all of The Jesus Lizard reissue titles on Touch and Go Records from your friends at Carrot Top).

Why would any band want to hit the road knowing that our heroes The Jesus Lizard have reunited to show/tell you a thing-or-two-about-a-thing-or-two?
Just ask Built To Spill, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

Nashville, July 14th at The Exit/Inn

It had been 11 years since I last saw The Jesus Lizard, yet there was an unspoken assurance in the air once I got to Nashville. Would they pull it off? Would they “recapture the spark of their glory years?” No one dared ask these questions. Why? Because we all KNEW that this band, out of the myriad of bands in the world, would be just as good, if not better than we remembered. It’s like the moon – always in the sky at night. Same with The Jesus Lizard – even their worst shows are better than any other bands best ever show. It’s scientific and shit. The Exit/Inn is fairly small (350 capacity) and by the end of the first song (the inimitable “Puss”), David Yow floated - atop an audience that sang along with every song, sometimes louder than Yow - all the way back to the sound board. And the band, killed that night. Absolutely killed. This was when I realized the unbelievable dance moves of one Duane Denison (I’ll call it the “silver shuffle”). It was also here that Yow told an awesome joke (what’s the difference between Farah Fawcett and Michael Jackson? ‘Bout 5 hours).

Later that evening, Larry Damore of Pegboy dived from the stage during The Lizard’s set into the crowd. The crowd did not catch him. Yes his shirt was pulled over his head. Yes, he did this himself, just before jumping. Coincidentally (see how this works? Shameless plug #2), you can order Pegboy’s Quarterstick Records catalog from Carrot Top as well. Imagine that, Christmas shopper.

Chicago, July 17th at Pitchfork Music Festival

Ever been to a music festival where a band (2nd of 3 in a 3 band lineup), held to rigid performance time schedules, are sent back out for an encore? Well, it happened at Pitchfork. Sure, there are those who will say “The Flaming Lips show was better than The Lizard’s show at Pitchfork”, but let me remind you: Wayne Coyne – travels crowd in giant plastic bubble. David Yow - travels crowd with no bubble. The Lizard need no plastic to blow your lovin’ mind. Just ask Built To Spill who had the unfortunate luck of following The Jesus Lizard with what was likely the worst show of their career. Sorry guys, happens eventually. Watching the band from backstage, I was both happy and sad. Happy to see Yow leap ferociously into the crowd mere seconds into the first song. Sad to see friends in the front row being crushed against the barrier to the stage (hey, it happens when people get REALLY excited about seeing a band). As the crowd realized the encore was actually happening, there was a stampede of humans racing back to the stage, Beatles-A Hard Day’s Night style. I’m sure someone got trampled….but not our friend Howard Greynolds who runs Overcoat Recordings!

All Overcoat releases, including the stellar “In The Reins” collaboration between Calexico and Iron & Wine and Oscar winners Glen Hansard/Marketa Irglova’s “Swell Season” recording (yep, that was shameless plug #3. Good eye, kid).

San Diego, October 14th at Casbah

If you’ve never been to The Casbah in San Diego, I am convinced it is the best venue ever in the history of ever. As airplanes fly 9/11 style overhead (the SD airport is only a few blocks from the club), I felt a bit nervous as I approached the Casbah’s door. Why? This club only holds 200 people, and that’s painfully packed! Of course, our heroes demolished, destroyed, and devastated the crowd. Mac McNeilly played a drum solo. If you’ve ever seen a drum solo performance at a concert, they usually suck horrendously. Not Mac’s. I think if Mac and John Bonham ever faced off, Mac would slug Bonham in the gut, and tell him to eat a hoagie. The audience at this show was star studded, too! Mario Rubalcaba (Earthless, Rocket From The Crypt, Hot Snakes), Juan Monasterio (Brainiac), Pall Jenkins (The Black Heart Procession, Three Mile Pilot), Henry Owings (Chunklet Magazine), Andy Roubilliard (Gogogoairheart), Matt Resovich (The Album Leaf, The Black Heart Procession), Rob Crow (Pinback, Goblin Cock, Heavy Vegetable) – all in attendance, all foaming at the mouth for The Lizard. And the band did not disappoint. Only the douchebag photographers, who jumped on stage to snap pics of Yow hovering atop the audience, disappointed. Thank you David Wm. Sims for literally kicking several photographers off of the stage. Natch, this is a prime spot for shameless plug #4 because you can order Earthless, Brainiac, GoGoGoAirheart, Album Leaf, Pinback, Three Mile Pilot, The Black Heart Procession and Goblin Cock titles, and Chunklet Magazine all from the loving hands here at Carrot Top.

Chicago, November 27th/28th at The Metro

Ahh, the Metro. A familiar stomping ground for The Jesus Lizard, this was the show to see in Chicago this year, with no doubt. The band was on their game as always, and Yow was in the crowd almost the entire show. Actually, he was dropped at the end of their 2nd encore (thanks, ladies), and fell 7 feet to the floor, badly bruising his ribs…as in nearly breaking them. Even the paramedics showed up and rushed him to the hospital. If you’ve never broken or bruised a rib, let me assure you – that shit HURTS dog, and hurts for MONTHS. Did that stop Yow the next night? ‘Course not. He appeared as the band took the stage, sitting center stage on a barstool. He jumped in the crowd during the first song. Making you reconsider the awesomeness of Wayne Coyne and that plastic bubble, huh?

Shameless plug #5 = get off the couch, get thee out from behind the trappings of the interweb, put on some adult clothes and contact Carrot Top to purchase the one thing you truly need: more awesome music (you soon-to-be-Christmas-shopper, you).

I’ll post something after the New Years Eve show with The Jesus Lizard and Disappears (who just signed to Chicago label, Kranky….distributed by Carrot Top). It will be better than your New Years Eve, I can promise you that.

Rest now, my liege,
Adam Reach
Touch and Go Records

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