By at 2:27 PM Tuesday, February 17th 2009

 

Jane’s Addiction: Back In The Habit

Jane's Addiction, Shows

 

The original lineup of Jane’s Addiction descended on the tiny Echoplex club in Los Angeles last night with a high-octane dose of the kind of hedonistic gypsy love rock that only this band can deliver. If they’re working on a new album (as has been speculated) in addition to their recently announced co-headlining slot on Nine Inch Nails’ “final” tour, they sure weren’t letting on, tearing through a blistering 11-song set exclusively designed for fans of the band’s original-lineup material- not a new song or track off Strays to be found. 

Jane's Addiction at the Echoplex part 2

Fans were alerted a few days ahead of time on JanesAddiction.com to join a mailing list in order to gain access to the show, and for about 500 of those lucky early responders (and a few late stragglers, like myself) who hopped on the RSVP trail, dropped a Hamilton and got a wristband, the anticipation on the scene was palpable. The news of an upcoming tour with a soon-to-be-dormant Nine Inch Nails, which Trent Reznor announced on his blog earlier in the day, made the night even more poignantly celebratory.

And celebrate they did. After a stunning set by Josh Klinghoffer-fronted dubbish wonders Dot Hacker, Jane’s triumphantly took the stage to a thunderous reception. Before the band even hit the chorus to their first song, Up The Beach, crowd surfers were up, joints were blazing and the scene was ignited with pure, victorious party adrenaline. I’m told that the place was crawling with high-profile Angelenos from Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher to Sasha Grey and Flight Of The Conchords’ Bret McKenzie, but I saw none of that action. My focus was on the living legends tearing shit up onstage. 

Whatever they’ve been doing with Trent Reznor lately has paid off, because Jane’s Addiction has never sounded more finely-tuned or on top of their game than they did last night. Frontman Perry Farrell arrived with typical peacock flare in a black and white striped suit, but kept his love-fest rantings to a minimum, opting to alternately slither and flamenco around the stage while nailing notes I’d seen him skirt around for years. 

janes-band21

Guitarist Dave Navarro’s solos were far evolved from what I remember seeing over the band’s lengthy history- they were tightly-wound, intricate flare-ups where every note seemed to matter and grandstanding wasn’t on the menu (despite the shirtless/tatted/pieced/gleaming look of course, a Navarro standard). Tight, concise and simply en fuego, his performance was much more focused and powerful than in previous years and incarnations of the band. It may have something to do with all the time he’s been spending with King Doom (Reznor) lately, but his delivery and overall sound have suddenly deepened, with more than a few chunky, chugging breakdowns scattered throughout. He left the crowd stroking to Farrell, instead playing with his head mostly tilted downward, hiding his trance-like focus under a black Kangol hat. Make no mistake, though- Navarro was very much in the moment. Every so often he’d snap out of whatever zone he goes into that allows him to peel out the parallels to Farrell’s wail and get into the groove, leaning into the audience and mouthing the words.

Bassist Eric Avery and drummer Stephen Perkins, meanwhile, breathed new, pulsing life into the foundations of classic fan favorites Whores, 1% and a fiercely blistering singalong Ain’t No Right in quick succession. Avery, previously the only OG holdout in the band’s many reunion tours over the years, seemed fully on board this ship, playing off both Perkins and Farrell throughout the night despite a no-nonsense, all-business demeanor. Watching the crowd go apeshit as he tore out the bouncing opening riff to Aint No Right, however, he looked downward for just a moment, and anyone more than eight feet away likely missed it- but Mr. Serious broke into a shit-eating grin.

picjanesside

Avery’s low-end rumble at the onset of Mountain Song elicited a roar of approval from the sweat-soaked crowd, who were entirely unfazed by the fact that none of the material on hand had been written more recently than fifteen years ago. The pit was intense, at last as far as the Sunset Elite goes, but everyone took care of one another, and joy was thick in the air (as well as a hearty dose of pot smoke).

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Farrell then introduced a funktified Been Caught Stealing with a short strut down memory lane: “When we were all kind of broke and saw something we wanted, we just stole it, didn’t we?” he bragged. “Well guess what time it is? Time to steal more shit!” The crowd roared like a hoard of kleptomaniacs, singing along with every word.

The slow-boiling Ted, Just Admit It… followed before the band closed out the set with an explosively charged rendition of Stop. After a five-minute breather, they returned for a celebratory Had A Dad before rounding out the night with a raucous, searing rendition of Ocean Size, a song bigger and more celebratory than anything riding the FM frequency these days. A sense of accomplishment beamed from each of the four as they set down their instruments, waved goodbye and headed into the night.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

On the way out I heard someone complaining that the set wasn’t long enough, but that’s just unreasonable. Sure, their set only lasted 48 minutes, which is certainly a questionable set length under ordinary circumstances- but man, you just saw Jane’s fucking Addiction for ten bucks. Quit your bitching. Besides, the magic can’t always be a marathon. Sometimes the short, focused bursts are the most powerful- and last night was a classic example of that. 

What made this show different from the rest, besides the fact that it took place in a thimble-sized club was the fact that it was a gathering of seasoned musicians, players who’ve been as far as the rock circus has taken anybody and are audacious enough to want more. The four seem to finally be able to share a stage without trying to one-up one another- the kind of atmosphere that makes for a hell of a show, but ends up a vicious cycle that’s torn apart the best bands this side of Sunset. Sure, Perry’s a grandstanding circus ringleader and after all these years I’ve still yet to see Dave Navarro with a shirt on, but it was a very even-keeled production in terms of ego and flamboyance. Maybe Avery’s participation has given them a new sense of humility and determination. Whatever the case, the formula is perfect, and the timing is right. 

Jane's Addiction Setlist 2/16/09

When I got home after the show, I sat in the car listening to the majority of their mostly-live Kettle Whistle album, not wanting to go inside just yet, to risk losing the little spark that had been reignited. For just a few minutes, I felt like the giddy little music junkie I was as a kid, totally freaking out over being three feet away from my heroes, one of the most pivotal bands of not only my life, but of the evolution of rock n’ roll. That’s the magic that Jane’s Addiction brings, and that’s why this band will always matter.

 
 

Meanwhile, On The Internet...

 
26 comments
  1. darkmethod says:

    Sounds epic, can’t wait for the tour with NIN

  2. Carl says:

    were you actually at the show, because they only played 10 songs. they skipped trip. also they didnt sound very good at all. your review is bunk and has false info

  3. Did I mention that they played it? Did I give any indication beyond that pic? Absolutely not – it was on the setlist that I found a pic of. My guess is that they skipped it because they started late and the club’s got a curfew.

    There’s not a single damned shred of false info throughout the entire review, and fuck you for suggesting so.

  4. TypeSlowly says:

    “There’s not a single damned shred of false info throughout the entire review, and fuck you for suggesting so.”

    Nice to see professionalism making a return to rock criticism.

    And the Echoplex’s curfew is 2:30 am. The set ended at 12:06 am.

  5. Skwerl says:

    we’ve never claimed to be a bastion of professionalism, nor will we ever.

  6. darkmethod says:

    WTF is this bullshit, are we talking rock n’ roll in here, or did this place become a My Little Ponies forum and I missed the memo… whiney ass bitchin about someone else’s opinion of a show….

  7. darkmethod says:

    also, they sound halfway decent, even in those horrible quality videos above, so maybe Carl is just a fucking pussy who should go find some nice quiet acoustic emo to listen to and leave the rocking to people who can handle the loud noise

  8. zoopster says:

    Holy Fucking Shit. I don’t care how long/short the set was, or how good/shitty they may have sounded, I wish I had been fucking there. Judging from the videos, they sounded good enough for me. Lookin forward to seeing them w/ nin

  9. TypeSlowly says:

    “There’s not a single damned shred of false info throughout the entire review, and fuck you for suggesting so.”

    The defensiveness of that statement seemed to imply Firecloud was rather angry at someone questioning his professionalism. Hence the above comment.

    But you’re right, you’ve never claimed to be said bastion. I more or less just wanted to tease Firecloud for being a hack. But I’ll leave him to go back to his highly original plan writing that first novel of his in L.A.

  10. Oh dear.
    The professionalism is in the writing. When I pour my heart into a piece and agonize over the details, accusations of bunk and falsehood are not taken lightly – especially given that one of the core reasons Antiquiet exists is to battle the tide of shitty hacks out there.

    If you’re looking for hackery, you’ll be better off at a place like Webinfront, who actually wrote up a little piece on the show as well – you should’ve seen the original version of the article. The show was referred to as taking place Tuesday night, beginning with Whores and ending with “Ocean Beach,” whatever the hell that is.
    *That* is a prime example of hackery.

    Oh, and tell Travis Johnny sent you. Unlike Antiquiet, they tend to censor unfavorable comments.

  11. Chris says:

    Who wrote this????????? were you high or WHAT?!?!?!?!?! Where you even there? Do you not get out much? You have no business writing reviews, that’s for sure.

    jeez, it’s amazing what Alvarado and 3rd St. crack will do to one’s perception!

  12. Skwerl says:

    we’ve done a lot of show reviews on this site. i’m proud of all of them, but this one’s one of the better ones, and never have we gotten one, let alone two trolls talking such shit.
    but i know johnny picked a fight with that hack ass site with the retarded review of the same show, and so it doesn’t take a rocket surgeon to figure out where you tools are coming from.
    keep it up, we like the traffic.

  13. TypeSlowly says:

    I read the Webinfront piece you linked to, JF–it looks like they changed the errors–a whopping three whole errors, as you mentioned. And it’s ten times better written than this.

  14. haha alright, now I *know* the trolls are out to play.

  15. Paul says:

    Great review. It was a great show.

  16. Porkspam says:

    Word is trent is going to help record their next cd.. if this is gonna be the end of nin it’ll be one hell of a team up tour to go out on…
    kinda weird how perry is the last one you hear sing on pretty hate machine.. brings things are full circle
    fuck the brats the review was fine.. hell you even mentioned josh playing first and i doubt any of the other sites know who he is, played with and will be

  17. Skwerl says:

    jane’s addiction wasn’t nearly as well-known on the east coast in ’89/’90, but i did get into nin via mtv… i’m digging up pretty hate machine right now to listen for perry; i never caught that.

  18. That cracks me up – totally the opposite for me. I remember the very first time I laid eyes on MTV: some dude was running through the aisles of a grocery store with a pantyhose mask on, singing about getting caught stealing. It was Perry Farrell.

  19. Skwerl says:

    haha yeah, i remember seeing that video on mtv but that’s really the only exposure of jane’s addiction i got. just seemed like a novelty thing. wasn’t until meeting you really, in san diego in ’00 or whenever that was, that i gave them a closer look.
    and i threw pretty hate machine on to hear what porkspam was talking about. i never made the connection with that “come on come on!” perry sample in ringfinger. cool trivia.

  20. oh, I was blown the fuck away. Wasn’t a novelty to a white kid deep in the bowels of a white-washed Michigan suburbia – it was like looking into a telescope at a planet way more fascinating than the one I knew. Might have planted a seed and had something to do with why I, and by design you, are even out here at all.

  21. zoopster says:

    in 87 or 88, I heard them playing on the stereo in a punk clothing store in san bernardino that I think was called “Thrash”. Anyway, I was instantly drawn to their sound, and not knowing anything about them, I naively asked the clerk who that was playing, and I’ll never forget the rolled eyes and huge sigh, along with the look that said, “what rock have you been under?” that I got before the clerk answered, “that’s jane’s addiction”, to which I replied, “oh.”, simultaneously feeling way out of the loop and grateful that I’d had the serendipity to hear them. I look back to that day as the first day of my new musical awakening, not to sound too cheesy. I’ll never forget that first listen and the sound that blew me away. They opened up my metal soaked brain to a whole universe of music I’d barely considered, and my life is all the better for it.

    And I don’t understand how defending oneself from a vicious attack is considered unprofessional. Seems like it was a needed response. Blindly making accusations of plagairism or hackery is unprofessional, to say the least. Great review Johnny. Fuck everyone else.

  22. Spinett says:

    I feel so young reading all those comments, nothing but a musically-impaired brat.

  23. Porkspam says:

    beginning of mountain song is sampled at the end of ring finger

  24. great post thanks very much

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