Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Jordi Wheeler, Spectacle Theater, Mon Feb 7

Third time's a charm (but then, so were the first and second). Another core member of Up Died Sound, a band itself not so very documented but modestly exploding with ideas, lit out on a solo hike. I wasn't even sure I'd be writing about Jordi Wheeler's set till partway through his somewhat troubled first song, when he realized what I was already thinking and killed an unnecessary percussion track, leaving just a song, a good one, and after that just songs (though not this splinter) — hermetic, whispered but not quiet by purpose, a few first on piano, stained-glass notes (and starry films behind him) illuminating the dark room, his percussive left hand the only rhythm needed. After a while he switched to acoustic guitar, still seated at his piano, for a few more songs, bedsit in nature but sophisticated, the seƱor even threading in a Spanish figure on — is guitar still his home instrument, can anybody tell? He returned to piano for another flourish, further smearing, really just banishing the question. Bent over his instruments he looked like a less mannered Peter Jefferies, though this night Jordi was clearly tithing in the parish of Syd Barrett (while John Cale hovered offscreen).

Don't blame the camera

As with a lot of veteran artists (Wheeler was in the Occasion, one of my favorite NYC bands of the early ’00s), this set seemed as much about corraling a wealth of ideas and impulses (like herding cats — and speaking of, the supportive crowd was filled with musicians) as showing off the songs. Which I'm looking forward to hearing again, even though the next time could be completely different.