Tuesday, August 21, 2012


photo credit: Maria Ives
A week ago, I went to see Jane's Addiction play at the State Theater in New Brunswick, New Jersey. My head is still vibrating from the experience.  They were amazing.

I did a review of the concert for CBS New York as a preview of their concert last Friday night in Brooklyn.  But I had to be professional when writing for CBS.

It's hard to explain how radical they were back then. The combination of sexuality and intelligence, power and sweetness, loud and quiet, classic rock and punk rock and heavy metal, it was just different, scary and thrilling.  Plus you knew that all of the guys in the band were probably living dangerous lifestyles, it really added to the danger.

These days, the guys probably live a bit more sensibly.  Perry was drawing from a flask and from a wine bottle throughout the night, but you never felt the show would go off the rails: Jane's meant business.  They seemed determined to bring the same power and vibes that they did back in they day.  They were, in fact, really powerful.  Perry Farrell hasn't lost any of his shaman-like frontman super-powers. Dave Navarro's guitar playing still rips your face off.  I know people criticize him for his celebrity status outside of music... but really, when he hits the stage, it's all about his playing.  He is still amazing. Stephen Perkins brings a weird tribal thing to heavy rock drums, it's perfect for this band. Chris Chaney has a difficult job filling in for Eric Avery, but he holds it down, without standing out too much. I saw them with Avery in the band a few years ago, and that was unbelievable.  But this show held up to the original lineup.  That's saying a lot.

photo credit: Maria Ives 
At first, I wasn't too sure about their recent album, last year's The Great Escape Artist.  It may not be as classic as Jane's Addiction, Nothing's Shocking or Ritual de lo Habitual, but some of the songs really held up live:  "Underground" and "Splash A Little Water On It." A song from their last album Strays (which also featured Chaney), "Just Because" was one of the highlights of the show.

No, they aren't as dangerous as they were then. But other than The Stooges, who is?  Perry is a dad and a businessman, and Dave has responsibilities.  And anyway, they don't need to be as dangerous as they used to be, they just need to be as great.  At the State Theater, they were. I can't wait to see the next tour.

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