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Jandek shares set with locals

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JandekThe Billiken Club held one of its most memorable shows to date this past Friday, hosting the mysterious folk/blues project Jandek for an innovative two-hour set. The secretive and prolific Texas musician behind Jandek (who is probably named Sterling Smith, although this has never been confirmed) has been quietly releasing albums since the late 1970s and very rarely performs for live audiences. This made Friday’s event a particularly momentous occasion for the Billiken Club, as it’s most likely the only show he will be playing anywhere in the United States this year.
Jandek performed a blend of improvisational blues that ranged from acoustic ballads to woozy blues-rock jams and more experimental atonal meanderings that incorporated distinctive spoken word passages and haunted poetry. The stylistic changes of the live show matched the varying melancholy folk and blues styles that characterize Jandek’s wealth of recorded material. Smith also had Friday’s show recorded and may possibly release the material as a live album in the future.
As with most of his previous shows (of which there have not been many), Smith chose to collaborate live with other artists for a good part of the show. Joining him and another female collaborator on stage were local musicians Joseph Hess of Spelling Bee and Matt Coonfield of Bugchaser. Hess and Coonfield were not aware of what they would be playing until hours before the show began, having the chance to practice only once briefly beforehand. This made for a highly original, creative performance that felt exciting to watch, with the four musicians continually switching between guitar, bass and drums throughout the set.
Over 200 people attended the event, making it the most popular show thus far for the Billiken Club since its return last spring. Other previous acts this year have included art punks No Age, electronic producer Lapalux and a host of local artists. To find out about more upcoming shows at the Billiken Club, follow them on Twitter or visit their Facebook page. The Billiken Club’s next sponsored show is on April 3 at Apop Records; noise rockers Wolf Eyes will be headlining.

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