10-G Spot


I just want to give you an orgasm with the guitar,” Gary Lucas says in the liner notes to his quite fulfilling 1997 album, Evangeline. His Friday night show at the Knitting Factory, commemorating a decade’s worth of gigs there, showcased him as a mind-bogglingly prolific plectrum Casanova, with stamina and inventiveness that left even the most ardent of his admirers limply wet with wonder and amazement. Four hours, two band configurations— power trio Gods and Monsters, who sound like what the Yardbirds might have had they not lost the plot after Roger the Engineer, and the very funny Big Pishers, featuring a cheerful John Zorn, whose regard for Lucas is such that he put aside his differences with the Knit for this occasion— plus duets with Richard Barone, newcomer Danielle Gruber, and mutant folk stalwart Peter Stampfel, plus a healthy dose of solo stuff, this feast made clear why Lucas (proud as he is of the association) is occasionally irked at being constantly name-checked as a former Beefheart sideman. The finger-picking marvel’s style encompasses as much Syd Barrett as it does Hubert Sumlin, and his sheer technique takes those styles places no one else could bring them. Alternating strong, soulful, inventive originals with a raftload of immaculately rethought and wide-ranging covers— “Autobahn,” “Jack Johnson,” the overture to Tannhäuser, and on and on— he contrived multiple orgasms. And when it was time to stop, he looked as if he wasn’t even close to wanting to, God bless him.