Monday, November 3, 2008

Alexis Gideon In Concert: Review

Two things happen when a bearded-gentleman starts hanging a sheet in front of a bar stage.

You either hope for some naughty shadow play from a backlit female figure, or you prepare for the disappointment of somebody showing some crap visuals to go with their crap music.

Alexis Gideon did neither last Tuesday night. Instead, the guitarist for Portland’s CarCrashLander performed an amazing solo set along with his animation/claymation-fueled tribute to Hungarian myths he’s named Video Musics. I actually bought a copy, it was that interesting, and I plan on absorbing it again in the future when I score some mescaline* for a viewing some point in my mid 40s: I dream big people.

The last tour stop of Gideon’s, along with tour mate Shelley Short, featured local openers The Black Hens, and was not a letdown in the least. I wish more people were there to appreciate the performance, but judging by the size of the crowd and the group actually engaged in the act of watching the piece, I assume most Utah residents just wouldn’t get it. And if I hadn’t been exposed to cinema like the Buñuel/Dali piece, I would have probably thought Gideon’s work was ridiculous. The guys playing ping-pong while it was being performed obviously thought so.

But, it isn’t ridiculous. Gideon performs his magnum opus with guitar, rap and “normal” vocalizations along with xylophone plinks during some really interesting projections: a bad ass lizard ("Brimstone Blaine") on a motorized vehicle harasses trains, another lizard creature seduces a fox princess by catching an elusive apple, and a cat-headed woman ventures through constellations into another dimension where spacemen dislocate her head–that’s just a small sample of the genius of the work that is loosely based on some sort of animal theme from Hungary. Check it out here. It will require a second viewing for me to really get it, most definitely. A first visceral viewing still resonates though, enough to recommend that you find this piece if you like avant-garde cinema, or if have some mescaline* on hand.

And if you have the latter, email Jamie Gadette and have her get back to me. I could push my goals forward a few decades. For scientific purposes, of course. Thanks must go to Slowtrain records for helping put the show on and for The Woodshed for hosting it. And see Gideon the next time he comes by. You won’t regret it.

*Jon Paxton and City Weekly do not endorse intake of mind-altering substances of any kind. Especially peyote.

(Jon Paxton)

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