Genral Jackett at Urban Lounge. Photo Courtesy Kahle Jackett
The stage was already set up with various props and canvasses by the time I arrived at the Urban Lounge for the Genral Jackett show on Monday night, Sept. 16 in SLC. Everything was already prepped for the small but elaborate “Hot Rod Acid Blooze” show that Genral Jackett has been performing versions of for 40-some years.
Max Paine and Groovies started off the night, filling in for a last-minute cancellation. Their show has evolved since the last time I saw them, with the lead singer spending some time on the keys as well as on the mic, and the energy was good, if a bit subdued from what I remember from the last show of theirs that I caught. They looked great up there with all the Genral Jackett artwork and gear, so that was just a little bonus that added to the ambience of their performance.
Giraffula was up next, and was a perfect choice to open for an act like Genral Jackett. Like Genral Jackett, Giraffula is a one-man project, utilizing a variety of different concepts and processes to get his artistic vision across. His songs typically began with him looping a synthesizer, vocal, or even beatbox, and then layering additional loops over it, and finishing with a guitar and some additional vocals. It’s very fun to watch him set up the process, and it made me think a lot about how intriguing it is to get to watch someone in their creation process like that––I think it’s a lot of fun to see everything put together as a performance in that way.
Genral Jackett’s performance followed along those same ideas, presenting the technique as part of the show. He took it further still by introducing additional mediums into the art form, using not just sounds and musical instruments to communicate, but also visual art, lighting and costuming. Especially for a guy who’s been doing it since the ’60s, he is extremely modern in the way that he understands the ever-changing entertainment paradigm, which inevitably includes more than one sensory experience. He moved from synthesizer to guitar to bass drum to painting, all while working all the sound through amps and effects that made me feel like I might just be on one big acid trip. Some of the props he used were part of the original setup Devo used in their early years, and since Genral Jackett was the one who helped create the setup, he inherited it and still puts it to good use. His original artwork made wonderful T-shirts and posters, and really do visually support his auditory presentation. It was a great show, and when he tried to end his set, the small crew still enjoying the late monday-night show cheered him into an encore and he treated us all to one more massive mess of sound. ‘Twas a fun ride for sure! Good times at Urban Lounge, as usual.