Friday, November 28, 2014

Scene Histories - Chapter 1: Carjack.

We all have that story of how, when or why we started considering ourselves as feeling...apart of a scene.
Into it. Part of it.
In the know. Running with a pack.
At that show and this show and the other show and jumping off tables and waking up hoarse and bleary eyed and counting down the next six days until you can go out and get weird again...

For some people, that story of the how, when and why... is another person. Someone who acted as adhoc gatekeeper, kicked it open for you, showed you around the place, gave some directions, gave some cues... An invitation; an initiation.

For me, I count myself lucky to have had that gatekeeper be such a magnificent weirdo as Carjack; a.k.a. Lo-Fi Bri... He had already been to every glory day's concert that I would could never dream of attending (... Pavement and Guided By Voices and Brainiac and Sebadoh and Nirvana and on and on...), he had already collected every vinyl record that I wanted and he had already written and recorded 200 or so of his own songs onto 4-tracks in blended the moods of Barlow-ian cloudy day art-gallery/coffee house folk troubador with DJ Shadow-styled breakbeats and scratch samples, It was a cool kind of coarseness that I was all-too-digging at that time; raw punk with a hint of pop, electro-laser effects with hip-hop's groove...

Photo by Mike Rozman

Carjack was about 30% performance art. When so many other formats, genres and songstyles had been tried-out and tired-out by the time he finally formally presented himself to the scene, his M.O. became more about engagement, something where people attending could be weirded-out and charmed-- at the same time. A similar response is often evoked from your prototypical cult film... Something that's astonishing in how subtly bizarre it can be, yet endearing in its clearly homemade props, costumes and spray-painted aesthetics.

Carjack was always about the crowd stepping back during the first minute of the first song with a raised eyebrow...then having each attendee close-up to the end of the stage (or maybe even climbing on the stage, with him) by the end of the last song. Like any great cult sci-fi film, you feel endeared into some awesome-weirdo club that's made cooler than anyone else by measure of it's own mutation.

But it all goes back to Lo-Fi Bri...and his tapes, his old recordings, his turntable experiments. The man, the songwriter, the performance artist, has evolved over the years, from producing E.P.'s for Carjack and his other band, The Electric Firebabies, to now having solidified a new stance in the arts community as one of the go-to concert photographers. Who better to capture the chaos of a rock show than a veteran of kinetic, here and then there, venue-sprawling performances... Somehow he wound up growing into the role of documentarian, the one who freezes the blur.

But Carjack LIVES....
New Way Bar - 23130 Woodward Ave, FerndaleVOYAG3R / Carjack. / WarhorsesDoors 9pm, $7, 21+Warhorses 10pm, Carjack 11pm, Voyag3r on at midnight

So, my chapter 1 would have to begin with Carjack. He took me to my first shows in early 2004, sneaking me into some of the sketchier places, if need-be... It was an education... And eventually, November 2005, he gets up on a stage and I, like young Arthur following Merlin, get up there with him to join in what could only be described as ... antics! But those antics built the archetype!

Cheers, Carjack.

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