Music

Live: Jay Reatard Acoustic, Sort Of, At A Wired Pop-Up Store

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Jay Reatard
Wired Pop-Up Store
Wednesday, December 17

“Bitch, you give me fits!” growled Memphis garage punk Jay Reatard yesterday evening, closing out a mightily unusual solo acoustic show at, of all places, a makeshift, Wired Magazine-sponsored store just barely on the Chelsea side of 5th Avenue. Reatard’s brief set–which started absurdly, absolutely on time–was, indeed, acoustic, unless you counted the generous swarm of reverb that drenched the crowd after each brief song.

“Why does that keep happening?” some talky guy behind me asked his friend, apparently uninformed about the roles distortion and feedback has played in rock music for the last 40 years, and further unable to connect such effects to Jay’s just-relayed lyrical themes: “My head hurts / And it’s killin’ me!”

The whole thing was over by 8pm, which left audience members with a solid hour to stand around in a curious retail black hole–the Wired pop-up store being a place where one can browse but not actually buy–and contemplate the paradox whilst drinking free beer. We stood among merchandise, in between digital cameras and luxury cars, and discussed indie-rock’s latest cameo inside modern marketing’s fav go-to: the pop-up store.

“It’s really just the patronage system,” my pal explained, merging punk and PR. Putting that matter aside, wasn’t it odd, I suggested, to be drinking in such a place? “This doesn’t feel weird,” said my friend. “I was in a sports bar the other day. Now that felt weird as shit.”–Greg Burgett

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