Review by Sophia Smith
I have had the pleasure of seeing Jane's Addiction before, first at the inaugural Lollapallooza Festival (of which Mr. Perry Farrell is the founder), and in New York - both in larger venues than Artpark. But those, like myself, lucky enough to be at the Jane's Addiction concert on Aug. 20 at Artpark were entertained, dazzled and then some. For those fortunate to be up close and personal, you could feel the energy and the sweat dripping off frontman Farrell and guitarist Dave Navarro.
Farrell shot onto the stage in his baggy-ass trousers and nothing else. A former heroin addict, he looks like he hasn't had a meal in awhile (perhaps he lives on Greek yogurt and tequila?). To the left and right of the drummer, we were regaled by two flying goddesses on swings, swathed in hoop skirts flowing at least 10 feet below them. Talk about theater!
Mr. Farrell is the consummate showman, and put on a show he did. The flying goddesses set the tone for the evening. As the first sound from the guitars strummed, the lights slowly rose and brought forth the sultry sounds of Jane's Addiction we all remember.
Just perfect for Jane's ... who have always been pushing the limit, always a little dirtier and naughtier than one expected. A bit shocking to the prepsters who just like their music, and a coup for the edgier fans who proudly sport their piercings and tatts. After all, Jane's was begat in Los Angeles during the goth rock heyday of the '80s, and Jane's emerged as one of the most significant bands of that time. Punkers, metal-heads and goths all loved Jane's and made them three-times multi-platinum artists. Farrell is founder of the pop-tastic Lollapalooza extravaganza, which is regarded as the catalyst for all modern music festivals.
Navarro, mostly known for his time with the Red Hot Chili Peppers and a brief (or really long in LA ...) marriage to Carmen Electra, kind of slid onstage. He was a sight to behold, covered in rock 'n' roll tatts, and piercings, and finished off with the de rigeur black leather motorcycle pants and heavy eyeliner. Immediately you could see the two vying for center stage, with Navarro a bit beefier and more commanding - but they both need a tan. Which is probably hard if you go to bed at dawn and wake up at dusk regularly.
While promoting their new album, "The Great Escape Artist," the playlist for this concert included all their best tracks. "Jane Says" was one of the first songs, and sounded pretty amazing. "Irresistible Force" was clearly the best song from their new offerings, and Jane's delivered "Pets" and "Been Caught Stealing" as well, to the delight of their fans.
Toward the end of the show, Farrell walked out with a bottle of wine, and sipped on it for inspiration - or thirst quenching. A few songs later, he came back with a bottle of tequila, took a few swigs, and "shared the madness" with the audience! Pretty cool. Imagine his crazy, bulging eyes popping out of his head and offering you a sip from the "fountain of insanity." How could you say no? The eager crowd sipped and passed the agave until it disappeared, but being Perry Farrell, he soon brought out another bottle (of course)!
The sound was a bit off with Farrell's singing; one could not decipher if it was a hoarse voice from heavy touring, or if the microphone was not cooperating, but that did not put a damper on the electrical surge coming out of his body and absorbed by the enthusiastic and charmed crowd. The band was in sync, you could feel the vibe of the part trance/part concert/part show, and it was just all working 100 percent.
If you haven't seen Jane's yet this summer, go to Pollstar.com, buy a ticket, and get your body to a show.