Once upon a time "indie" wasn't a codeword for tween-marketed bedwetter music--it was raucous, nasty, sweaty, raw, and it was actually INDEPENDENT. Noise rock, post-hardcore, whatever, call them whatever you want (except for "grunge"), The Jesus Lizard were the best American band since The Stooges, or maybe Flipper.
The seemingly (but not quite) amelodic David Yow is pure rock n' roll id & libido sans ego and posture, dancing around effeminately, falling over, spitting, sexually harassing & slapping the audience, knocking stuff over and spending about as much time floating around on a sea of hands as he does his feet. The contortions that he tortures his middle- aged body with avoid that dreaded "aging rocker" awkwardness by virtue of his honesty; he never tried to pass himself off as the image of youth, "coolness," virility, or any other errant, transitory property, it's just pure energy and catharsis, squirming & tumbling around, barely slurring out his vaguely Baudelaire-esque surreal decadent lyrics, then cracking a lame joke between songs. He's just effortless, and that's what real "coolness" means. It's the logical conclusion of The Stooges' and the Birthday Party's ethos of turning a live show into a communal experience--a ritual, a ceremony. The camera wisely doesn't spend much time on the rhythm section, who are notoriously tight but have little to offer in terms of spectacle, and Duane poses an amusingly stern foil to Yow's antics, grimacing like some white haired Clint Eastwood type cowboy. His surgically angular, jazzy licks spawned a thousand crappy math rock bands who missed the point and sound dated today, but TJL still sound fresh and always will.
The audience is passable, although most of them look like bedwetting scenesters and a couple are seen waving their stupid phones around. There's one idiot hipster girl briefly seen doing a new age "spiritual" dance, probably the worst two seconds of the whole thing. Keep an eye out for the drunk bro who crawls on stage only to get clumsily tackled by an enormously fat security guard in a bright orange shirt.
Flaws? There's a couple tunes from their not-so-classic albums that should have been replaced by, well, anything from Head or Liar. Nobody really needed "Destroy Before Reading." At least the band is aware they became a non-entity after their regrettable major label deal and pretty much stick to their indie material.
So, Club captures the one 90s rock band that matters (with a few slight exceptions that don't include Nirvana) not quite at the peak of their powers, but PUTTING FORTH the same raw, effortless energy that they did when they were young; the resulting contrast is true to the fatal ambiguity that band always stood for, drunken yet agile, creepy and sleazy yet strangely beautiful, cryptic yet sincere.
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