We caught the Cameron Jamie show last night at Symphony Space in NYC. He was presenting Jo along with the now complete trilogy of Kranky Klaus/Spook House/BB in conjunction with the Whitney Biennial. Jo came first with a live soundtrack from Keiji Haino. It was just Keiji, his guitar, and four amplifiers. The performance was captivating, making it difficult to focus on the film on the screen. After a brief intermission, the Trilogy began with Kranky Klaus up first. It documents a Christmas tradition in rural Austria in which St. Nick arrives to give out gifts and along with him come the Krampus, a heard of furry, horned beasts that come to intimidate and punish those who have misbehaved. The Krampus costumes are truly bizarre, and watching furry horde work is jaw-droppingly astounding. They overturn tables, tackle parents, and terrorize children. The live score for this piece was provided by the Melvins, with a reverent pause for the point in the film where the Krampus take a break and sing along to Black Betty by RamJam. Next up was Spook House, which explores haunted houses around Detroit in the days leading up to Halloween. Keiji Haino joined the Melvins onstage, for what Walker Chief Curator Phillippe Vergne told me was the first time ever, to score Spook House with an intense and noisy duet. The evening finished with BB, an investigation of a violent backyard wrestling phenomenon in Southern California. These kids jump off of roofs and ladders and smash each other with folding chairs and trashcans in imitation of their favorite pro wrestlers. Jamie and the Melvins presented BB at the Walker several years ago in conjunction with the show How Latitudes Become Foms. The Melvins took a completely different approach for their score this time, again working with Keiji Haino to create an imposing and visceral counterpart to the onscreen violence.
The show was amazing, and plans are in progress to bring the Melvins and Keiji Haino this fall for a performance in conjunction with Cameron Jamie’s solo show that will run July 15-October 14. Keep your eyes open for the announcement, as you will not want to miss this.