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The Jazz Butcher Conspiracy : Mailing List : 1999

New York - September 23, 1999

From: Scott Deschaine <>
Date: Tue 28 Sep 1999 - 07:39:54 PDT

Here's a feeble attempt to convey the thrill that was the Jazz Butcher Conspiracy show at the Wetlands in New York City on September 23, 1999. I hope it gives a small vicarious thrill to those who couldn't make it. And for those who could have come, but had some lame reason for not attending, I hope it makes you kick yourself.....

The Wetlands itself is an open, clean, spacious yet informal club. This place donates all profits to environmental and political causes. There is an actual VW Bus coming out of one wall, complete with resident hippie girl passing out political literature for a variety of good and questionable causes. Ventilation of the club was great. The beer selection was good, if expensive, but hey, some of that money's going to protect the environment! Give me another, I'm saving the planet!

Got there early, and got to meet Mr. Pat Fish! He's taller than expected (6' 2"-4"?). He courteously chatted with a variety of fans and admirers before the opening act.

The crowd was mixed - young and old, male and female. Surprised at how many early twenty-somethings were there, and how many I talked with liked The Butcher's older stuff. How did they hear it?? One gent told me his first exposure to the Jazz Butcher's music was hearing "Big Questions" used as a theme song for a television show that reviewed music CDs! Anyone know the name of this show and other details?

There was a short set by an opening band.

Mr. Pat Fish and Mr. Max Eider took the stage. Pat said, "Welcome to the last great rock concert of the century!" And then they began gently playing what they called their "pussy" songs. "Partytime" was first. Over succeeding songs, Pat and Max were joined by Mr. Owen Jones, Steve Valentine (who Pat later thanked for, among other things, driving the van and being his attorney!), and another gent whose name I missed but who flew in from England just to play with the band that night.

For those who care, to me the sound mix was fantastic, perfect. But to be honest, these guys could have been playing oatmeal boxes and kyotos and I'd have found no fault.

Early in the show, the gents traded instruments around for different songs. On Owen's sad song "Don't Let Me Keep You," Pat played bass. Some of the other quieter songs included "Raking Up the Leaves," "Girls Who Keep Goldfish," and
"The Long Night Starts."

And then they started getting wound up. Don't quote me on the exact order of the songs, but along came "Falling in Love," "She's On Drugs," "Soul Happy Hour," "D.R.I.N.K."

You may have heard "Jazz Butcher vs. Count Dracula" before, but you never heard it like these guys played it that night. Roaring along, full of sound, all cylinders hitting, fun and scary at the same time! These guys mean it! Almost appropriately, Pat's guitar fritzed out at the end of the song. Even the equipment was not prepared for how this band was reaching critical mass!

A quick break to fix the equipment. Good - a chance to squeeze through the crowd for one of those beers and help support the environment some more. Then the band was back on stage, ready to go again.

Max Eider sat off to the right, in full concentration, looking up once in a while with a smile. Several times as the show heated up, he stood and walked around, seemingly moved by the music and quite enjoying himself.

Owen Jones and Steve Valentine provided a driving, solid beat, adding OOMPH to songs that deserve it. Some live performances can't live up to recorded versions, but I've never heard some of these songs sound so rocking and full of life!

And there's Pat Fish, center stage. Singing and playing guitar with control, then letting go with wild abandon, then pulling it all together again. Proudly showing off the talents of the gents around him. And delivering those great songs, one after another. Pat Fish, looking like a natural.  

The place was packed, hardly enough room to even move! As the show went on one could see ever increasing numbers of people begin to move with the music. At first, maybe only die-hard Butcher fans, but then more and more, until those standing still were a small number indeed!

What's that? A rousing "President Reagan's Birthday Present" that segues into a pounding version of "Caroline Wheeler's Birthday Present." OKAY!

"Rain" - Alright!

"Walk With the Devil"
"Mr. Odd"
"Bigfoot Motel" - THEY KEEP COMING!

"Forever" ("A thing of beauty is a joy forever...") - sigh - too true!

SIDE NOTE - Not many songs were played from some of the more recent JBC records and no SUMOSONIC tunes. From ILLUMINATE, only "Old Snakey." This is a flat out horror story of a song - get that shocker ending!! On stage, this had a galloping, jerky quality quite different from the slithering riotousness of the album version. When introducing the song, Pat made some comment about Sony deciding not to release ILLUMINATE in the U.S. - talk about a horror story! What's the deal there? Anyone know why they chose not to release this monster of a disc??

"Angels" - HIT THE CEILING! Why that girl over there is actually crying! Who
can blame her??

"Zombie Love" - YEAH GO! These guys are out of control! This song just
COULDN'T sound so menacing and driving, but it does!

First encore - "Take the Skinheads Bowling."

Second encore - "Roadrunner." The whole place was bouncing. Even people who just sat along the back rail for the whole show jumped into the mass of dancing and shouting.

I've never seen the Jazz Butcher before - never even thought I'd get the chance! My sincere thanks to all who helped make this tour possible.

Not much comment on the list after this show and the end of the tour. Maybe too many mixed emotions. I look at that ticket stub and read "The Last Show Ever!!!" I don't know what will happen in the future, but I'm left with this memory --

One of the best bands in the world, fronted by one of the best songwriters in the world, at the top of their form, pounding out great song after great song in a crowded New York club full of Jazz Butcher fans on a cool night in early fall.

The last great rock concert of the century.

What's next? Received on Tue Sep 28 07:25:26 1999

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