Unravelling the Knit

Beefheart Night at New York’s Knitting Factory on April 9th has prompted many eye-witness accounts, photographs, and audio and video files from the event. Here are links to some of them.

As soon as Culture Catch’s film of the event is released, we’ll link to it here.

Peter Warner wrote this review of the evening:

For the Love of Don…

And what a glorious night it was.

After all the sub dude talking, which was all very charming and a bit of a revelation to hear the words spoken in a NYCity accent, Lucas cranked up the volume for the big payoff. The pulsing, shimmering KANDY KORN was certainly a highlight, sending shock waves through the audience. Building to its magisterial climax, I could not but help step closer to the stage as toupees flew by, pushing up into the corners of the room. Truly powerful sensory overload and deeply moving, this had to be one of the finest moments of live music I have ever experienced. At one point, Philip Johnston made a knob turning gesture, pleading with Gary to lower the volume, begging for tolerance, but a smirk declared the mission and there was no turning back.

The crowd was a good mix of young and old (I guess we would call that middle-age these days), and a surprising number of fine ladies were in attendance, which is always a good sign. Of the new numbers, THE PAST SURE IS TENSE proved a natural (can’t you hear the horns on your head?) and the sheer oddity of BLABBER & SMOKE almost made it difficult to hear the music in this often overlooked, seemingly throwaway tune. It is safe to say it is an improvement on the original (sacrilege, I know). WOE-IS-UH-ME-BOP introduced a decidedly non-Beef clarinet (the most human of instruments). This was one curious arrangement and I desperately need to hear it again. YOU KNOW YOU’RE A MAN was a cool selection, having all the gusto, swagger, and playful testosterone-fueled flirtation of the original. Much appreciation goes to Mr. Holtje for his CultureCatch column, but I gotta pipe up and say I loved bassist Jesse Krakow’s A CARROT IS AS CLOSE AS A RABBIT GETS TO A DIAMOND. Oh, and EVENING BELL, anyone? At frickin’ Pete Townsend volume? Hooray! It was clear that Gary meant to rip the roof off the place, and all night long he let loose like the Old Mentor was off in the wings cracking the whip. Heavenly.

Hmmm, and as if this all was not enough, the hardcore got a special treat in the way of the Robyn Hitchcock/Gary Lucas Duo. Mr. Hitchcock has an obvious love for the material, and if he altered the words to SURE ‘NUFF, it probably had more to do with teenage memories than anything else. I even caught him singing CLICK CLACK for his own amusement long after he left the stage. What else? Oh yeah, the paintings! A real nice touch, these projections, many of which I have not seen and wish I owned. Don’t know why, but I like Don’s visual work more and more the older I get. I think it has something to do with being less frightened of silence and more at peace with Death. God Bless you, Don Van Vliet.

……and thank you Peter Warner. If anyone else has any further comments or contributions please add them to the comments box or send me a mail. Thanks. This post was updated on 21st April 2008.



  2. the comments and the videos are quite enertaining, thanks for them, it looks like one Hell of a Night… any word on the master tapes that have surfaced and were supposed to be premiered at the event?

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