Peeking out from beneath a mop of wavy hair...The Echo, Los Angeles, Friday June 12
Jay Reatard must be thinking just one thing when he takes the stage in front of a sweaty, packed house this Friday night: ‘It’s [I]on[/I].’ Starting up a few minutes ahead of schedule, the Memphis wünderkind and his two bandmates don’t waste a second before tearing through what feels like 30 songs in as many minutes, hardly letting us catch our breath as they power through one high-octane number after another.
The humidity in this place is off the charts as sweaty bodies rub against each other and people spill their beers while trying to snake through the furiously moshing and pogoing throng. With something like 900 songs in his catalogue, it’s not easy to keep track of which of his many albums or EPs he’s drawing from, but does it really matter? The testosterone-laden jolts deliver their intended effects, making us forget our stressful working weeks and shed any pretences of being cool as we air-guitar with abandon.
Reatard says hardly a word aside from shouting out a few song titles like ‘Oh It’s Such A Shame’ and ‘See/Saw’. The tunes from his forthcoming album, ‘Watch Me Fall’, jostle comfortably alongside older material, sounding a lot like the Buzzcocks’ demented nephew on steroids. It doesn’t matter that Glasvegas are playing at a cemetery across town or that Swedish post-punks Love Is All are at the club downstairs – there’s nowhere else we’d rather be. Never one to overstay his welcome, Reatard shouts, “This is our last song!” at the half-hour mark, and blasts through his final number before pulling a lucky punter up onstage to play his guitar while he stagedives into the crowd where he’s pelted with beers and vodka tonics. Before we know it, Reatard has left the building, and we’re chanting “Let’s go, Reatard, let’s go!” Once again, the clever fellow has abided by the age-old axiom: always leave them wanting more.