Jane's Addiction: 25 September 2011 - Chicago

Selena Fragassi

Whatever Jane Says, goes at intimate, career spanning show.

Jane’s Addiction

Jane's Addiction

City: Chicago
Venue: Metro
Date: 2011-09-25

In this industry, there are supergroups (hello, Zwan) and there are super groups (hello, Jane’s Addiction) -- and in much the same way the winners of America’s Next Top Model are no Cindy Crawford, not every band can offer the desired combination of beauty and brains. Jane’s Addiction is the exception, then, with a devilish purse of spectacle and substance, a concert cum circus that is two lions and a headdress away from a full-fledged Vegas revue or living Dave LaChapelle photograph.

If there’s anything addictive about Jane’s, as anyone who has kept one of their ticket stubs would attest, it’s no more than in the band’s live performance. And even in 20-odd years the band hasn’t been able to kick the habit, much to the chagrin of a very select few who welcomed Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro, and Stephen Perkins (joined by bassist Chris Chaney) back to where it all began: the very quaint Chicago’s Cabaret Metro.

In November of 1988 when the band took the stage of the barely 1,000-capacity venue, the show launched their debut Nothing’s Shocking -- and when they returned in September of 2011, the appearance solidified them as a Titanic in a sea of sailboats, without plans of sinking from the spotlight anytime soon behind the strength of a new album and tour. Like Farrell’s fest Lollapalooza, Chicago was the lucky chosen city to begin the trek, the first in a series of double dates that the band has planned in major markets across the country to promote their latest effort, The Great Escape Artist.

But Houdini aside, the “magic moment” of this night, if you asked singer Farrell, was when a woman ran onstage apparently looking for her Springer beads. “That could bring peace to the Middle East,” Farrell cajoled as the streaker ran across the stage to plant her face on Navarro’s. The real illusion though was how none of this seemed, well, shocking as Jane’s Addiction had all under the guise of their “Irresistible Force” in a night that ranged from bizarre to near epic, intimate and yet completely grandiose.

The band could have done without the confetti guns during “Stop!”, the free chocolate before “Been Caught Stealing”, the Pink Floyd-esque laser light show and even the accessory trumpet player and dancing duo (flanked by Perry’s wife Etty Lau) and they would have still had the crowd’s affection. Stripped is the band at their best (and we’re not just talking about the ever-shirtless Navarro) as the final number of the 13-song night proved. After a short set break, the quartet returned to the stage to deliver a bare-boned helping of “Jane Says” that could just as well been held in Farrell’s living room, he sitting on a stool while Navarro parked himself on the lip of the stage and Perkins coddled a steel drum as if playing it was easy as making a pan of brownies.

Although the songs were few, ranging from early classics to the darker, Dave Sitek-produced new material, the quality behind each presentation was never in question. While Farrell made the crowd shiver with his ghostly town crier beckoning, Perkins and Chaney made the earth move with their tidalwave of drum-and-bass. And Navarro—he literally gives the shirt off his back for his craft, shown in his time-stopping solos and fancy fingerwork. Sure if Farrell hadn’t spent as much time conversing about “this generation” and his undying love for Led Zeppelin as Navarro did melting hearts and his fret board, we may have heard a few more numbers but no one seemed to care. This night was about living in the moment, as Farrell put it best: “Here’s to life. Here’s to death … I’m not afraid of dying, but I want to live! I have too many chicks left to bang”.

To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.

Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

Keep reading... Show less

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

Keep reading... Show less

The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

Keep reading... Show less

Here comes another Kompakt Pop Ambient collection to make life just a little more bearable.

Another (extremely rough) year has come and gone, which means that the German electronic music label Kompakt gets to roll out their annual Total and Pop Ambient compilations for us all.

Keep reading... Show less

Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.