A review of Eugene Chadbourne, live at Cafe Oto, London, 13th March 2015.
First published by the Psychedelic Bolsheviks
(I was under the impression that the Solar Eclipse that occurred yesterday was scheduled as a 7 day anniversary of Eugene Chadbourne playing Café Oto, but apparently that wasn’t true so I made the decision to produce the following).
*Warning :the Psychedelic Bolsheviks are not “professional critics” and some of them refused to wear trousers as children*
Let’s share germs, that’s how we’ll develop our idea’s ..
“1,2 ….. fuck that…. 5″
Derek looks spooky in that deck chair.
The process of getting to London was a difficult one in itself, it felt similar to what I envision bathing a python in cream may feel like…. slippery, with odd textures. A coach that was overcrowded, late, as the coach started out and had wheeled on pavement for several time units. The sound of an orgasm rang through the coach, presumably from a technological device followed by the arguably less sensual tone of the driver’s Scottish accent, who informed us that we had to go back to where we’d just come from due to two passengers forgetting to get off…
… skipping some …
A young American couple sat in front of me with thoroughly shampooed heads, flopping over each other in a moon formation. I spent the majority of the j o u r n e y starring at their scalps while in my peripheral vision I experienced brown and green tree’s flying into each other some bizarre shit lo-fi time lapse.
At last my back don’t hurt…
I hadn’t heard Doc Chad until late 2014. It’s to my own embarrassment that I admit that, though the problem here is really so many people haven’t heard of Eugene: proof that the flan whoopers who are most prevalent in their genre’s or popular music in general do not get there from simply being the most talented, original or unpredictable but from something else… I think you know what… (the voice from off-stage whispers: marketing and a cleverly-managed commodity)
When I did finally hear him it felt as if it was something bigger, more significant than just listening to another musician that repeats a similar formula to dozens of others that have found that to be what people want to hear. It felt like quite the opposite, a musician who played what he wanted to hear and allowed music to be a vehicle to experiment in a way “you’re not suppose to” (just had a thought about Rib Eye Steak, having a food called such a thing makes me wish that we had eyes in our ribs, faces for eyes have become tedious)… Eugene pushes boundaries and mocks genre without the pretentious annoyances and pointlessness of things like ‘Sound Art’ (Out of Lunch did a rant about this recently; you should read it if you want to). He plays with sausages and farts out moons, incorporates silliness to be a radical tool that challenges the monotony and etiquette of music’s standards, he ridicules boredom with unrestrained movement on his guitar, throwing all the most inappropriate ingredients into the cooking jug, without plastic wrappers removed, out of date and still in bottle, jar and basket. Scribbling all over my mind with all the fun of blowing raspberries on a cow’s stomach on acid while it gently strokes your head with its hoof … o yeah, hoofs everywhere with Chadula’s sound ..
Country music for people with a impatient ‘punk’ kind of attitude, Country music that will make you scream “yes, you just fucking did that, yes” at your record player, scrambled improvisation and sincerity that the bourgeoisie want banishing from culture. An attack on the conservatives grip of the Country tradition in both idea’s and form, music that threatens to expose all previous preconceptions of “far out, man”. An obsessive that constantly uses music to represent that he believes in turning the world as we know it upside down, a socialist who was accused of “being a direct threat to the American way of life” by the Reagan administration.
Shall we talk about the gig?
Sure, why not man ..
o yeah right
shall I start now?
yes, stop hesitating this is foolish
ah yes oo, here goes
The sweet stuff went down at Café Oto, before arriving I had great hope that this was a posh way of saying ‘Café Otter’ and that there would be free roaming otters staggering around the premises that interact with the music and the audience could place them on different parts of Eugene’s body while he played, upon arriving to the venue there wasn’t a Otter standing by the door moodily smoking a cigarette and giving me hostile glances as I had hoped. Statistically there was no Otters to be seen at all. ..
Chad-bear was sat behind his desk with out his signature glasses but with all new piercing eyes selling cd’s In socks along with own dreams that he’d preserved, upon first seeing him I felt that he’d probably be a great storyteller, the kind that could retell experiences in a way that would be valuable and engaging about alligators and absurd situations in some wooden shed with cushions and old magazines all over the floor (although I can’t guarantee that seeing him would produce the same kind of feeling in you)
Onion Plumbers, surround me …
There were sounds produced for around two hours broken up with a talk with Hegelian wizard cobbler Dave Black (no relation to Bob Black, thank fuck) who told me he thought the guitar was all real groovy and Owen Jones was a swinging vicar (undeniably true). Waiting for him to start I felt such a genuine excitement that I could feel my toes juicing up and worried that I might throw my dick through the crowd while he played. When he started his Banjo introduction to the lullaby chamber I was caught up in the contrast between his blue shiny shirt (I wanted to get up and rub the shirt through my fingers while the banjo acted as a theme track to me doing so) and his silver head whirls.
I felt my head heading pulling from side to side as he went through his Friday 13th set about needle dropping and cold gravy without hesitation we can claim that Chabourne is the best guitarist on the green and blue ball: it’s not hard, I just did it. The way he does covers of songs that have no interest to me and makes them incredibly refreshing and off the radar of its original form makes me shake me head violently from side to side with my tongue throwing saliva all over your dinner.
He did Beefheart’s ‘Mirror Man’ – or at least the lyrics with what seemed to be a unrelated made up guitar which was delightfully confusing, though apparently a member of the audience said he was very ‘Beefheart’. What does this mean? A pathetic attempt to make sense of it all through a poor comparison, Chadbourne sounds like Chadbourne, there’s really so little imitation that it becomes needless to group the sounds he produces with other musicians, he stands as something by his self (as does the Captain).
Perhaps the most absurd point in the set, the pinnacle of the absurdities was a medley that combined 1967’s psych roulade with detestable modern pop, with Love’s, ‘Red telephone’ and Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’, ah the unity of opposites yes, Marx had something to say about that didn’t he… Eugene did it in the most genius of fashions, all the while wobbling side to side alternating feet like a baby struggling for balance amongst it’s feet.
He sprayed a similar kind of magic when he covered popular girl group TLC, with a rendition of their song ‘Unpretty’ with a broken guitar solar system and angular improvisation in the middle where he repeated their lyrics “can’t believe I’m tripping” over and over as he elongated the song and flew it out of its original proportions, to an uneasy ditch of string squeaking and staggered leopard dodging .
The whole set was full EC’s ten finger banjo rumbling, cartoon faces and twitches, honest sweat that requires two shirts, voice changing and him licking his fingers to rub the base of his guitar to produce mouse song, yet I couldn’t help but feel disappointed that for Eugyular it seemed to be more tame than I had prepared my myself for, I expected more of an explosion that opened up the music and manifested itself all over my body and face, more of the abstracted tangents that jump from tree’s into countryside ponds throughout Eugene’s records, even though at points I did find my eyes creasing and widening in amazement, such as when he seemed to interact with noises in the environment to shape his music improvisation around the bar noises and the percussion of heels walking across the floor.
From the perspective of a six year old Mordecai wrote on a sheet of paper that he thought the songs were too similar, too long, though considerations should be made that this is the kind of six year old that refuses to except being bored, constantly grappling it, the kind of six year old with no time for the diplomatic mincing of words, the kind that will tell you to get out of his fucking house when he’s had enough (the kind of honesty that the left keeps in the wardrobe). What I see as one of the fundamental brilliances of EC is that he produces the kind of fun that is impossible not to engage with because there’s no way of ignoring it’s ever changing erratic ridiculous nature, the kind that can successfully like up to the enhanced imagination of a child . At the Oto it just seemed there was more of a singer / song writer approach, though, the very fact I felt disappointed with this only highlights that Chadbourne has no intention of trying to impress the consumer and that his whacky balloon, electric rake, falling off a cliff speed antics aren’t something forced to make himself look ‘Avant-Garde’ but are absolutely genuine … those monkeys gunna be dancing all day.
I’d go into the bottom of a rabbits burrow, listen to some one talk about Zizek (urgghh la ) to see him again, as many times as the opportunity existed, his music turns Zebra’s into candy and I’m never stopping taking it.
After the gig there was shouts of “Penis” in the tube station then as Whiskey laced my intestine I was shown a Chad record I was yet to have heard before ‘Country Music in the world of Islam’, my brain turned the opposite way around within the confines of my Skull. I felt like it had some how built on my previous understanding of Eugene, I wanted to sink into a grapefruit with him inside that grapefruit with me, playing as he plays.
Crumple me up Cindy, I’m ready for the bin!
You can’t really expect me to lay on Beefheart’s moustache all day, I need to grow spots for a new form of fish, they just put in the order, Crumbs.
Let the liberals keep Dylan, the revolutionary freaks got Chadbourne .
Tune in, Queer it, Organ- ise