EUGENE CHADBOURNE. Wunderbar, Lyttelton. 24 JANUARY 2009. 9pm.

Chadbourne's humour was as viciously desultory as his dynamic virtuoisty, witticisms ballistic left right and centre, as hick oompa ostinato subsided ruthlessly to scorched tumulus drone, itself slipping back on the highway for MOR blues-brood before colliding head-on with another jacknifed series of unwarranted genres, indelible yet incessantly stuck in the rear-vision mirror of our captivated attunement through its sheer, illegal velocity. Richard Neave once wondered how you'd distinguish between speed and velocity in music and I dunno whether Chadbourne confused or cleared up the issue but what remained pretty explicit was the carnage left at each abrupt cadence: There was no stasis if that's that speed entails, no free-fall agitprop hedonizm but I suppose that's what velocity's all about. Anyway it wasn't up/down so much as just fuckn omnidirectional - and not in that cloying manner that Borderline Ballroom presented their Merry Xmas simultaneous-DJ shtick as either. It engendered confusion and confounded a crossroads audience, which only made the hilarity of the event exponential, lucidly murmured and beautifully nagging falsetto jokes apprehended among a subdued cloud of downer frowns, and chuckles and nervous appeasements. Greg Malcolm's set was softly scintillating, more strata o'er there in his sympathetic resonances than I'd ever heard before, and I've seen him do his trick more than once, too. His music blurred latitude and longtitude, just like Eugene's, less schyzophrenic but equally mesmeric. dave took this typically infuriatingly amputated shot of the goings-off. Nice last frame though. _ JOHN LASER.

Un/Equal parts polymath, autodidact, inventor, scene-mongrelizing underground cult anti-hero and true Maverick of modern North American music, Eugene Chadbourne strikes Christchurch with his eclectically singular and incendiary brand of electrified be-bop hillbilly improv.

While sharing a not-too-dissimilar profile to thatof now-popular compatriot Daniel Johnston, Chadbourne has infiltrated contemporary rock music more as a true polemicist than a mere eccentric, a familiar icon of momentous experimentation, particularly in the New York ‘loft scene’ of the 1970s and beyond, where he has appeared alongside luminaries such as John Zorn, Bob Ostertag, Marc Ribot, Fred Frith, Steve Beresford, Henry Kaiser and Cellist Tom Corra.

With well-known producer and grunge guru Mark Kramer, Chadbourne later founded Shockabilly, who, after releases on Rough Trade and New York’s Knitting Factory, were deemed the East Coast reply to The Residents. Chadbourne has also appeared alongside Elliot Sharp, Violent Femmes and Sun City Girls on a CD called Jesse Helms Busted for Pornography, which shows where his humorous political targets lie. A top official in Ronald Reagan’s administration once referred to Chadbourne as ‘the biggest threat to the American way of life’ and his G.O.I.N. (Get Out of Iraq Now) Band has eloquently and satirically told the more recent administration where to go.

Chadbourne comes to Christchurch with his own magick invention: The Electric Rake, a gardening utensil mined with electrical pickups that makes the sound of a punk horticulturalist tending to equally belligerent blades of wild and coruscating metal grass. Mixed up with his raconteur wizardry, it will be a persuasive combustion. As Pumice put it recently, Chadbourne issues forth scrambled LSD & whiskey country & western, free range plink plonk Ayler tunes on the banjo that went on uncomfortably long, fierce rake racket. He’s totally fearless, reckless, and squirmy. I’ll be there.