Punk Rock Attitude
A concept that is bandied around far too readily, I'm sure you'll agree. Still, there's that moment on The Pentangle's version of "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme" where the first verse ends and the band launches into the first instrumental break of their debut album. And there you have it: Bert Jansch and John Renbourn - arguably the two most imaginative and technically gifted guitarists of their generation - both simply refusing to solo, just peeling off little string bends, waiting for the second verse to kick in. It's such a simple gesture but so, so profoundly exciting. Now that's punk rock attitude.
In a recent interview with the mighty Mike "Barnsey" Barnes, Jansch confirmed that he never really saw him self as a hippie and that - in retrospect - he feels that he was always more of a punk. Seeing Jansch play in Vancouver last night, it was great to discover that he still plays with snap and sings with a sneer. Despite being in the hideously inappropriate environs of Richards on Richards, the show was one of the most transporting musical experiences I've had all year.
The only disapointment was how few people I knew came out to see Bert play. Doubtless, they'll all be going to see Devendra Banhart this weekend - the phoney baloney, hippie dippy alternative to Jansch's Real Deal. Actually, I quite like Banhart but why taste the flavour of last month when you can savour the timeless brilliance of a living legend? Because the flavour of last month is less challenging, less emotionally harrowing and less discomfitingly PUNK ROCK!