David Grubbs (The Spitz, London)

Music Industry Trends Not Yet Overexposed (A McSweeney’s list). I swear some of these already exist on the AMG.

Elsewhere in music, we went to see David Grubbs at the Spitz on Tuesday. I’d never heard any of his solo stuff before – what drew me to the gig was more the six degrees process of connection i.e. David Grubbs was in Gastr Del Sol with Jim O’Rourke who now works with Sonic Youth, who is Michelle’s favourite band. So I already knew it wasn’t going to be one of those gigs where I could stick my head up my arse for a bit and, based on my own personal knowledge of the artist, revel smugly in the indieness coursing through my veins. This is probably why I spent a large part of the “song” where sounds of a baby crying/cat wailing (not sure which it was), opera, orchestra and random blips were repeatedly and what felt like randomly pastiched together inwardly giggling at my cliched wondering of whether he was just getting his sound samples ready for the song, or whether the song had already started, or whether everything had gone horribly wrong technically and he was desperately trying to regain control. (Aside: Man, that was a convoluted sentence.)

I enjoyed the gig, though. He looked and acted like his name, which is not to say he was engorged and slimy and writhed around on the floor under a big log, but rather that he seemed overwhelmingly ordinary when he wasn’t being a brilliant guitarist, the sort of person who’d mooch unassumingly into a gig and sit stolidly two thirds of the distance away from the stage with his Bud, watch quietly and leave.

We sat at a bad angle from the stage, and I think poor Alec spent most of the gig watching a pillar playing the guitar. Every now and then the tea light at our table would wink out from a draft and we’d have to relight it. I didn’t actually observe everyone else around us that much, except for a guy with some serious beard action and an aging hipster whose reactions to the music tended to be obvious but didn’t seem put-on. For some reason, even though I was perfectly happy being in a room with lots of other people, none of whom were irritating me (this can be rare), even though I was definitely absorbed in what was a fairly remarkable performance, there was a corner of my mind where the edges of the room seemed to blur where Alec ended, where the hand that wasn’t touching him didn’t register as a part of me and the hand that did, did.