The Spectacle that is Anton Newcombe!
Oh Anton, will you ever been taken serious again? That was the question going through my mind last night while I watched Anton Newcombe “perform”. The show was billed as a special Brian Jonestown Massacre show. But it was anything but special. The show was supposed to be an all-acoustic performance but instead it turned into just another typical show for Anton. For those that are unfamiliar with the trouble front man of the neo 60’s psychedelic rock group, the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Anton Newcombe was at one time consider by many to be a savior of rock’n’roll. He brought back a sound that many people had forgotten about and made it a sound all his own. He was had many imitators through out the years. However Anton has always been quite mad, and self-destructive. So it was no surprise that the original members of the Brian Jonestown Massacre left the band and Anton slow began to slip into oblivion. But just when people thought he was gone for good, the 2005 documentary “DIG” brought the band back in a big way. Then there was the release of greatest hits and then slowly rumors that Anton was more in control and that his live performance where not just about going and watching and waiting for Anton to do something crazy.
Perhaps it was these rumors and people hopes that Anton would live up to his potential that got them 3 shows during CMJ and 2 post CMJ shows. It was during the second of their second show of CMJ that the announcement that the bands equipment had be stolen. I am unsure what happen at those shows but my guess is it was similar to what happened last night.
Anton was showing signs of begin a little crazy from the beginning of the show when he was arguing with members of The Morning After Girls about who was going on first. Anton won and eventually took the stage with a barrowed guitar. Here is a roughly what then occurred Anton yelled at the crowd and complained about the guitar he was barrowing. He then yelled at the soundman. Then he went and did the sound himself. He then returned to the stage. Then started a song and then he stopped. He then started again. Then he yelled at the crowd for yelling at him. Then he insulted one of the other bands. Then he threatened a person in the crowd. Then he tried to play a different song. Then he played most of the song “Stars”. Then stopped and yelled again. He then got pissed off and decides to start playing the Morning After Girls’ instruments. And then Anton just jumped of the stage and left.
I walked home last nigt wondering as I have often wondered “Is Anton just crazy?” “Does he just act this way because it is what is expected of him?” “Is this really what the crowd wants?” and of course “What will happen to this one time great musician?”
You can download a lot of Brian Jonestown massacre songs here including their performance from this years Lollapoloza where they were joined bu original member Matt Hollywood.