Sat. April 30
(Le Grand Mix, Tourcoing)

Sun. May 1
(The Pit's, Kortrijk)

Thu. May 5
Awesome Tapes From Africa dj set
(Treehou5e Open Air, Ghent)

Fri. May 6
Invisible Hands / Neil Michael Hagerty & The Howling Hex / DSR Lines
(Vooruit, Ghent)

Sat. May 7
(De Ruimte, Ghent)

Tue. May 10
(De Pit's, Kortrijk)

Thu. May 12
(DOK, Ghent)

Fri. May 13
(Het Bos, Antwerp)

Sun. May 15
THRONEFEST (Taake, Inquisition, Mgla, Batushka, Inferno, Dysangellium, Wiegedood & The Commitee)
(Kubox, Kuurne)

Thu. May 26
(Den Trap, Kortrijk)

Fri. May 27
(Trix, Antwerp)

Wed. June 1
(Botanique, Brussels)

Wed. June 8
(Vooruit, Ghent)

Wed. June 22
(Het Bos, Antwerp)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

R.I.P. JAY REATARD 1980 - 2010

On January 16th 1999 as I enter the 4ad club in Diksmuide, I see a young guy sitting cross-legged in the middle of a small stage. Upon first sight, it looks like he is meditating but it soon turns out that he isn’t feeling too well and is trying to control his fever. It’s an image that is burned into my mind forever. Fortunately, my fears that the intensity of the show would probably be weakened by this sudden flu turns out to be unnecessary when his band REATARDS starts kicking out one classic hate-fueled garage punk tune after the other with the guy ending on the ground between our legs, screaming & hollering like mad. This was my first introduction to the hyper-intense live shows of an ultra-talented kid that called himself JAY REATARD.

At the end of 2003, Jay came back to Europe to tour with his new band the LOST SOUNDS. Since I was a huge fan of that band (and still am today), I asked Jay if I could do an interview after the show at the Pit’s in Belgium. The band agreed and we had a great 2 hours chat with all band members and some friends of mine. It soon became clear: Jay wasn’t in it for the fun & the chicks. Rock ‘n roll was his way to deal with reality. “Rock and roll is my salvation it’ll set me free whatever that means” he says in the liner notes of the first Reatards album.

Although the 2003 Lost Sounds show was somehow a disappointment to me because the set didn’t really reach a climax and ended way too soon, the band’s second appearance at the Pit’s in April 2005 was pure bliss. This time, the Lost Sounds went way beyond a climax and left me KO, both physically and emotionally. A total mindfuck. Afterwards at the bar, Jay tells me that these are the last Lost Sounds shows but that he will be back soon with his new band THE ANGRY ANGLES and the reformed Reatards. He got bored with the synths and wanted to go back to basics.

A few months later, Jay is back at the Pit’s, backed by TOKYO ELECTRON. His set with The Angry Angles, featuring his then girlfriend Alix, is great but Tokyo Electron totally kicks ass. Two minutes into the second song, my eyebrow gets busted open by the bass guitar and I am bleeding like a cow. I go backstage to wash my bloody face and bump into Jay. He tells me not to worry and shows me his own scars from various wild shows. A real nice fellow who would soon transform into a savage beast. The Reatards show that night was the only time in my life that rock ‘n roll scared the shit out of me. Jay started molesting microphone stands, smashed lights, pints and microphones and went totally berserk. I felt my heart in my mouth and was thrilled at the same time because it all sounded so fuckin’ raw & pure. Definitely one of the best shows I’ve ever witnessed!

I saw Jay two times again in 2007 as JAY REATARD AND THE BOSTON CHINKS but I must admit that I always preferred his former work with Reatards and Lost Sounds. On the other hand, I was very glad that he finally got the attention & recognition he so much deserved. The worldwide positive response to his first solo album ‘Blood Visions’ and the subsequent signing with Matador Records was a great reward for his dedication and talent.

Death is a strange thing; I haven’t been moved by someone’s death since John Peel passed away in 2004. I hope there’s still a future for punk rock & roll now that Jay is no more. As for the moment, I doubt if there will ever be another guy in punk rock as talented, genuine & exciting as Jay Reatard. RIP Jay, it fuckin’ meant a lot to me and I am still very impressed! Thanks so much!


My favourite Jay Reatard live shows:

1. 19/11/2005: ANGRY ANGLES + TOKYO ELECTRON + REATARDS (Pit’s, Kortrijk)
2. 19/04/2005: THE LOST SOUNDS (Pit’s, Kortrijk)
3. 16/01/1999: REATARDS + PERPETRATORS (4ad, Diksmuide)
4. 20/12/2003: THE LOST SOUNDS (Pit’s, Kortrijk)
5. 15/06/2007: JAY REATARD & THE BOSTON CHINKS (Lintfabriek, Kontich)
6. 18/05/2007: JAY REATARD & THE BOSTON CHINKS (Pit’s, Kortrijk)

more about Jay here and here.


Anonymous said...

while I still get angry when i see musicians molest stuff that isn't theirs (and also if it is...), i do believe that reatard was a unique musician who still had a lot of excellent music in him. it's a shame.
nice obit!

StevenVDW said...

nicely written!! this pretty much expresses my own thoughts and feelings on Reatard's death although for me the first Reatards gig (at the 4ad with the Persuaders not the Perpetrators - 4ad, Diksmuide) was never topped and to me there was as much "despair" as there was "anger" in his songs (picture says it all). This gig - together with the Dirties gig in the same club (singer already dead as well...) renewed my own interest in punkrock. It's hard not to feel mediocre and lame, compared to souls like Jay Reatard, though. Thanks JR. RIP.

luKe said...

Steven, I initially wrote ‘angst-ridden’ and then changed it into ‘hate-fueled’. I suppose the truth lies somewhere in the middle…

Daniel said...

I seem to remember a busted eyebrow at Pits. Ouch. That was a great show. Nice post. Sad reason for it.