DFN Day 2: Sweet Jesus (Lizard)

Day 2 of Day for Night was about two things. One: St. Vincent who came, saw, and conquered our ears, minds, hearts, and souls. Seriously she played so damn well. It was just her on stage the whole time which seemed weird, but who cares when she’s slinging some serious guitar solos. Not only did the guitars look like gear I would steal in a heartbeat, but the way she played remained so idiomatic yet brilliant by anyone’s standards. Her whole presentation lived up to the hype too. Lots of multi-media stuff going on. She set the bar for what Day for Night should look for in an artistic performance.

Photo by Roger Ho

And Two: The Jesus Lizard. A band not many people know about, but similar to the Melvins or Butthole Surfers, legends to many an artist and fan alike. Not only are they one of the great (and severely underrated) noise rock and post-hard bands of the 90’s, they only remained active from 1987-1999 and momentarily from 2008-2010. This time around, they returned with the original lineup and made Day For Night one of only eight stops this year. I don’t mind saying that I bought the Sunday ticket for the Jesus Lizard the same way I bought the Saturday ticket for Nine Inch Nails. Between the two, my rate of return put me up there with the bitcoin folks and organized crime.

Set started with singer David Yow jumping into the crowd for a good ol’ surf sesh, an outing he made about five times. Seriously, he didn’t even start singing, but instead jumped into the crowd cause he knew the last thing we would do is drop him. Grope him and cut off locks of his hair? Definitely. Drop him? No way, no how. I got to touch his boot, which is way more amazing than it sounds. I will say that he should never take his shirt off in public again though. He had the whole pregnant dude look going on, which can’t look good at any angle. It was like Medusa, fifty year old man version. At the same time, how is the singer for the Jesus Lizard swimming on top of legion fans not an awesome thing?

Photo by Brandon Clements

First song the Austin-born group kicked off with was “Puss,” from 1992’s Liar. Perfect song to start a set off with in my book. It’s features the finest tag team between Yow’s hellish shout-singing and a classic rock tune that would make the MC5 blush. Now the JL got themselves many legendary songs to choose from. They also kind of sound the same, while still owning their own identity if that makes sense. So for my sake, I divided the set into two categories:, the first being songs with a beat that won’t quit and the second, songs that sound really cool cause and yell shorts phrases at you, (otherwise known as songs that really make you think). Keep in mind, all Jesus Lizard songs contain pronounced elements of both, but I’m employing a wino methodology where majority rules. My list:

1)      “Gladiator,” “Glamorous,” “Destroy Before Reading,” “Nub,” “Then Comes Dudley,” “Chrome,” “Monkey Trick,” “Bloody Mary,” “Thumper,” “Wheelchair Epidemic,” “7 vs. 8”

2)      “Seasick,” “Mouth Breather,” “Then Comes Dudley,” “Boilmaker” (larger proportion of yelling), “BlueShot,” “Monkey Trick” (coolest song ever written along with “Super Freak”), “Wheelchair Epidemic,” “7 vs. 8”

Think about which category you fall into, listen to a few, and don’t get on my case for basically making up a bullshit taxonomy for songs that don’t need it. This idea obviously sounded better in my head. Moving on, let’s highlight some big songs. Of course “Monkey Trick” did the trick. I mean, that is if you can get behind the sweetest liquid bass intro and most filthy beat known to human. It’s one of those songs that makes you feel like the ultimate badass. Seeing it live all but validated this notion for me. “Seasick” and “Then Comes Dudley,” two classic songs from the band’s oeuvre made the crowd of otherwise upstanding and well-adjusted people, turn into absolute lunatics. It was awesome.


 Photo by Brandon Clements

Photo by Brandon Clements

As the night blazed on, the Jesus Lizard reinvigorated anyone who loves heavy and abrasive music. You wanna know what sucked about the Jesus Lizard’s set though? All the people who apparently didn’t get the memo that the Jesus Lizard was and remains a fucking rock band, not some sort of perverse and religiously affiliated nature documentary (yeah, that’ll do). Note to anyone choosing to stand as close as humanly possible to the stage: people slam their bodies into each other for an hour and scream cause they’re happy and drunk/high/assholes. They don’t care about whether you feel more comfortable just chilling quietly and dogging everyone else trying enjoy the show. You gotta know that ahead of time. I’m talking to you, DUDE who tried punching a girl in the back of the head (right where the occipital lobe resides btw) cause she was head banging (in her personal space) too much for your liking. Or you, LADY who thought that plastering her hand against my chest and staring me down like a DMV worker would somehow prevent the collective weight of the thousand people behind me from pushing into her. You don’t see the Jesus Lizard cause you want to stand like a bozo stuck at an actual post office. You see them cause they’re cool and you finally have yourself an opportunity to also be cool, not a wet blanket.


 Photo by Brandon Clements

Photo by Brandon Clements

By far the best song they played was “Wheel Chair Epidemic.” Just imagine a mob of people chanting “Help, Help, Help.” I know it sounds lame on paper but it’s awesome at a Jesus Lizard show. The whole shebang ended with a killer drum solo, courtesy of McNeilly. Okay not really a drum solo, more like the most coked out game of Whack-a-Mole ever conceived. It lasted at least several minutes and punctuated the show. Honestly I didn’t even notice until they all left the stage. It should be noted however, that this event occurred after the encore cause the Jesus Lizard loves their fans.

Jesus Lizard made up for the previous day getting ruined by rain. They showed up all casual, promptly made all of Houston bend the knee for an hour, and peaced out with the unworldly coolness. I got my mind blown out and kind of forgot that I needed to care about anything else in life, which means I went to a really good concert. I didn’t really do anything else at Day For Night, except continue to view all the trips installation art. There was this red light pyramid structure thing, a robotic arm show, and tanks of crabs that basically ripped off every Asian seafood restaurant. My associates and I made the decision to not stick around for Thom Yorke, who for some ungodly reason decided to hold his set at midnight, several hours after all other acts finished. I’m not about that. So just like that, Day For Night ended. No fuss, no muss, and some decent ramen on the other side. I’m definitely about that.