Call me Russ L

GDFAF 14: Jeffrey Lewis & The Jitters/Professor Louis/Dexter (20/10/7)

Posted in Going Deaf For A Fortnight 2007, Music by Russ L on 23 October, 2007

The last popular music gig of my Going Deaf For A Fortnight 2007 dawned, and I wasn’t feeling very well. Off I went to The Hare & Hounds (for the second time in the fortnight) nonetheless.

Dexter were the first turn. I had seen them once before but I really didn’t remember ’em having a trumpet. I’m silly like that, though. Pop-rock with a bit of ska-punk here and there, anyway, and on the dull side. I wouldn’t suggest they were a waste of electricity, because I’m not nasty like that. Oh no.

Professor Louie (the uncle of our headliner, Jeffrey Lewis. I don’t know which side of the family, but I hope it’s not paternal. Think about it.) was fantastic. He recited his poetry in his tough New York accent, while some vague jazzy grooves were performed quietly by others in the background (although I paid very little attention to those, in all honesty). It sounds kind of beatnik-ish (as in the popular stereotype and not the actual movement, you know what I mean) and in a way it was, but his delivery contained no hint of pretence or fancy. Commonly-expressed lefty sentiments that I agree with but have heard many-a-time before rose above platitudinous-ness by dint of the eloquence and intensity with which he put them across. You could tell he meant it. He was really engrossing, definitely one of the highlights of the fortnight, and I’d maybe recommend trying to see him even if you aren’t normally into any of this live music nonsense. (Have a watch of this video of him doing ‘The Walking Dead’. It’s pretty great, although I’d say it doesn’t capture the full essence it had live).

Finally, Jeffrey Lewis, an artist recommended by many but never heard previously heard by… erm, me. He wore a large guitar. That’s not a euphemism. I just mean that his guitar looked oversized.

‘Whimsical’ is one of those words that has become revolting through over-use by people who have tried to make it synonymous with “acting like a tit.” Another one of said words would be “quirky”. As such I tend to retch when I hear a musical act described via those terms, but I think that they actually may have applied here and furthermore no-one need throw up. A lot of his songs seemed quite silly but were cleverly written, and had a darker edge here and there. His band, The Jitters (I’m not sure if he always performs with them or not) were similarly varied in tone – mostly very lighthearted with the cheap keyboards sounds ‘n’ such, occasionally turning the mood a slight touch more sinister, and then going a bit more dancey on a few songs too. Illustrations drawn by he himself were projected behind them, and were often quite fun (especially ‘Champion Jim”. Champion Jim~!). It was all very enjoyable and I’d like to investigate his cannon further. I had to go before the finish once again (I know there’s been too much of that in this particular fortnight where I really wasn’t meant to, but there you are. Buses. Stabbing pains in the stomach. And so on.).

It’s a bit of a shame I couldn’t find anything to make a big appropriate-feeling finale like Motorhead last year, but never mind. Thus it ended. Or did it? Yes. No. Maybe. Till the next post…

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