Jay Reatard / Tokyo Electron
Hemlock Tavern
January 20, 2007

Review by Jake Thomas

Ah yes, another of my beloved early/matinee shows. Jay Reatard has been a hot topic on the music blogs and message boards as of late due to his awesome new album “Blood Visions”, so there was understandably a lot of hype for this show, and it sold out pretty quickly leaving a lot of folks left out in the cold (and by “the cold” I mean in the bar at the Hemlock eating peanuts and bellyaching about getting there too late).

Getting there early means you gotta watch the opener, which is more often than not an unpleasant experience… luckily this was not to be one of those times. Starting the show off was Tokyo Electron out of Arizona (and maybe also/sometimes Memphis?), and they were pretty fuckin’ fantastic. They weren’t so much punk as they were just really good hard rock ala the Hot Snakes or maybe Drive Like Jehu, something along those lines. I heard more than a few people express how stoked they were on their set, some even going so far as to say they were even better than Jay Reatard after it was all over. Now I personally wouldn’t go that far, but they were definitely top-quality and well worth another viewing if they come back to town.

But as good as Tokyo Electron was, Jay Reatard was magically better. His performance was exactly what I want to see in a gig – tight, concise, and unrelenting. He played song after song without the mindless banter and constant tuning that so often plagues the flow of a show, and managed to cover pretty much his entire “Blood Visions” album and some other random tracks in what couldn’t have been any longer than 30 minutes. Probably the highlight of the night was towards the end, as it approached 8 o’clock (the time the show had to end so they could get ready for the later show that night), Jay grabbed the clock off of the wall, said something to the extent of “times just about up!”, and then broke the glass face of the clock over his head, and lit off into another song. Glass was everywhere, the crowd ecstatic, and I had an instant entry into any “Best Shows of 2007” list I might try to make.

©2007 playinginfog.com