I Got Jay Reatarded Last Night

It’s less than twelve hours since I walked away from the scuzzy walls of Red Seven, and still my ears are ringing from the sheer level of noise that I gladly witnessed, as rock n’ roll returned once again to my life. It’s funny, I listen to a lot of music, but its seems rock has become less of a staple in my music dietary supplements. I would like to extend my gratitude to Jay Reatard for reaffirming my belief in it’s greatness – even with possible hearing loss.

The opening bands were good enough. Manikin and Golden Boys seemed a bit sloppy, but I did enjoy Cheaptime. None of the bands were over-bearing, in the sense that I felt they intruded upon my rock. But, lets face it, I came to see Jay Reatard. I had looked forward to seeing him for a long time, and I sipped my Lone Star in waiting. 

The Reatard three piece took to the stage at midnight, sporting enough hair to share with dozens of my bald friends–okay, I only have two, but its was a lot of hair. “Bloodvisions” began the night, as the guitars screamed through the speakers. Almost a minute later, the song was over, and they were on their way to playing “Oh, Its Such a Shame.” Then, onto “My Shadow.” Four and a half minutes after they had begun, they were well into their fifth song. The sheer speed with which they played reminded me of watching early Ramones videos, where the band blasted through their recorded material so fast that the audience was left breathless, mostly because they had left us little room to breathe. The rest of the set consisted of what I believe were fifteen total songs. I particularly enjoyed “Nightmares” and “See/Saw,” which comes from Jay’s limited 7′ series. The total time of the set was possibly thirty minutes long, though I counted off twenty-eight minutes.

You’d think I would be disappointed in such a short short show, but I only paid $10, so I can’t complain too much. Not to mention, he played all the songs I wanted to hear–the list I had in my head anyways. My girlfriend said I should have been disappointed, and so I started to think about why I liked the rock so much. 

Jay Reatard did only play thirty minutes, but he played with such ferocity, that it would be difficult for anyone to complain about his set. Then, throw on to that the fact that the front fifty people were going crazy, dancing and jumping about as if they were teenagers–they weren’t. Jay has somehow found a way to the hearts of the older indie kids. Sure, it was an all ages show, but I left with the impression that meant all ages were required to dance and scream back at the band. For the rest of the month, I just want to rock, and that’s all due to Jay Reatard

Again, I started questioning my tastes in Jay, and I found another old punk band to help draw back the connection for me. Jay is a rock n’ roll man, but he has the kind of pop sensibility that the Misfits had. Sure, they wrote some grotesque lyrics, and had some sort of fascination in skulls and such, but at the bottom of the rock, they were just a pop band. They wrote the sort of songs that anyone could love, and this is what Jay Reatard has done. Songs like “Nightmares” or “My Shadow” definitely bring on the rock element, but they also bring out the pop goodness – it makes rock so much more fun. 

I think my only complaint about the show was the sound. I would have liked to hear the vocals a bit more, but its almost as if that didn’t matter – I knew the words anyways. Bottom line:  Jay Reatard and band played their hearts out at Austin’s Red Seven, and they turned me back into the rock n’ roll kid I used to be–what else could I guy ask for?


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