Review: Jay Reatard, TV Smith, Pretty and Nice @ Harpers Ferry (7/3/09)

Pretty & Nice, TV Smith, Jay Reatard – Harpers Ferry – July 3

Pretty and Nice: Interesting kids…. Their music mixed loud, fast punk with some glimmers of power pop. Musically, they had the chops, but they didn’t stand out more than any other band to me. On the other hand, it was their “antics” that caught my attention. These include singing songs about ponies for mic checks and similar little songs between their actual numbers, making extremely strange, almost robotic faces, often while rocking out on the guitar (mainly this was just one guitarist and it looked as though he would fall at any moment haha).

TV Smith – Long, a little too long for me, but nonetheless, very passionate performance. Smith clocked in at 44 minutes, rather lengthy for a supporting act. I dug his folk punk anthems of rage, disgust for the government and religion, frustration with the apathetic youth (generation y, I’d ask them how they feel about this, but I’d get no reply!), and the harsh, but ever increasing dichotomy between the rich and poor. On several occasions Smith made it a point to voice his contempt for greedy, power hungry, war criminals. Overall, the former Adverts frontman/punk legend offered a decent performance.

Jay Reatard (headliner)- Jay and his crew brought out the flying Vs and all their hard rocking high energy, but only mustered up enough energy for a rather brief, 30 minute set (and that includes the 3 song encore with T.V. Smith). From what I’ve read however, this is not uncommon and he typically finishes with a 15-20 minute set, which is completely ridiculous. Anyway, what he did play however was an extremely loud, fast, heavy brand of garage punk: all rockers, even though Jay has some softies, which I thought he may have played since he brought out his acoustic. But, the red shirted singer just hooked up the acoustic to his amp instead and continued to jam like he did with his electric buddy. The trio certainly rocked out, albeit, shortly, especially the bassist, who appeared to be biting into the air haha. Unfortunately, Jay has a short fuse and was irritated by the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm (I guess not moshing enough, though I didn’t really mosh, I was very much into the band and rocked out completely!). I will note however that there were several audience members simply standing and gazing at the band, not exactly the crowd response, one expects to garner at a punk show, I suppose. Jay baited the crowd with a little spit beer and some harsh words lol: “you guys are boring motherfuckers.” Fortunately, he did play my favorite “See/Saw,” which to me seemed to get people rocking. Overall, decent, but as Glen deemed it “a little reatarded,” because we simply received a small taste of the band’s capabilities.

Chris DeCarlo

*Author Edit* Let me just say to anyone that reads this, please discard it, at least the blurb on Jay. I found this while I was looking through our archives. I  clearly didn’t know what I was talking about and  it is  pretty ignorant overall. Though those were natural reactions at the time, as I thought the show could have been much better, what I later realized was that it wasn’t a fault on Jay’s part, but more the “boring motherfuckers” in attendance. At the time, I didn’t know much about the dude, but I actually did purchase Matador Singles 08 that very night and it soon became the highlight of my life. I guess not knowing Jay’s music very well combined with a dull crowd just didn’t work out well. On the other hand,  I do state in the review that I enjoyed the performance, but I wanted more. When I saw Jay a few months later at the Shattered show it was one of the best nights of my life. So, please if you don’t know anything about this web site, don’t pay attention to this review. I included this ramblin’ note at the bottom of the page  for those who stumble upon this review, but don’t know what KLYAM or I am all about and how I have felt about Jay’s music subsequently. I won’t delete or change this review because that would be dishonest and I meant what I wrote at the time. It is just horribly misleading in every possible way.- Chris  on 1/31/12.

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