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Jay Reatard - Babylon, Ottawa, 16/4/2008

  by Andrew Carver

published: 20 / 4 / 2008

Jay Reatard - Babylon, Ottawa, 16/4/2008


Trash rocker Jay Reatard has a reputation for playing short, but chaotic gigs. Andrew Carver watches him deliver at all levels ina memorable show at the Babylon in Ottawa

Jay Reatard has blazed a fiery trail through the gutters of trash rock. Picking up the torch discarded by the titans of the ragged rock scene in Memphis, the Oblivians, he’s crafted a respectable corpus of lo-fi, teenage burn’n’crash rock’n’roll through the last decade. His most notable combos have been the Reatards and fractured new wavers Lost Sounds, but he’s also released albums with The Bad Times, Final Solutions, Angry Angles, Terror Visions and others. While he garnered attention in the underground, his latest solo effort on Sub Pop, ‘Blood Visions’ has expanded his acclaim enough to attract a couple of hundred of Ottawans to a Wednesday night show at Babylon. The openers are the Holy Cobras, a local quartet recently formed from the ashes of New York Dolls lovers the Sweet Janes. The Dolls influence remains, but David Johansen and Johnny Thunders have to compete for time with he Gun Club’s Jeffrey Lee Pierce and Kid Congo Powers. After some debate over which song they’ll open with (“No fuckin’ way are we starting with that!”) they kick off with an original, ‘Stormy Weather’, then shake and shiver through a brief set. Next up are Montreal’s CPC Gangbangs. The band has an impressive pedigree, with members of Les Sexareenos, Spaceshits, the Cockroaches, Del-Gators, Milky Ways and Daylight Lovers. The sound of The Stooges runs through CPCGB’s sound, as does a penchant to whipping the crowd into unruly behaviour. Roy ‘Choyce’ Vucino surfed away on top of the crowd for part of a later song and finished it by scraping his guitar along one of the PA system’s amplifiers. Finally it was time for the main attraction. Reatard has a reputation for short, chaotic sets, and he more than delivered. Reatard’s work for Sub Pop employs more pop skills than his more trashed out early stuff, but his newer output has much of the same manic vigor. In person Reatard totes a white Flying V, sports a vast corona of dirty blonde hair and looks not quite old enough to shave. He came with a rhythm section of equally hirsute character. His bassist also had a Flying V, which was cool. He ripped his way through a few numbers – starting with the title track of ‘Blood Visions’ - before disaster struck. Bassist Stephen Pope’s amp expired, and when he went to grab the Cobras’ combo job he was ordered off the stage by Reatard to seek the CPC Gangbang's Tom Kitsos and his superior amp head. Reatard riffed for a while along with drummer Billy Hayes then declared "Let's play one without him!" and thundered through a bunch of tracks sans bass. By the time Pope was ready to play again, there was just one tune left in the brief set, ‘Waiting For Something’. By the time he was done about 25 minutes had passed and the crowd was frothing (one young lady in a summer dress doffed her shoes for a quick last-minute crowd surf). The crowd begged for more, but only Hayes was left on stage to sadly shake his head as he disassembled his kit.

Picture Gallery:-
Jay Reatard - Babylon, Ottawa, 16/4/2008

Jay Reatard - Babylon, Ottawa, 16/4/2008

Jay Reatard - Babylon, Ottawa, 16/4/2008

Jay Reatard - Babylon, Ottawa, 16/4/2008

Jay Reatard - Babylon, Ottawa, 16/4/2008

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Interview (2008)
Jay Reatard - Interview
Jay Reatard is the former front man with the Reatards and dozens of other punk bands. He chats to Sarah Mwangi about his recent decision to turn solo, and the problems he has had dealing with violence at his gigs

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Watch Me Fall (2009)
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