Monday, March 12, 2012

Review: Jane's Addiction at The National, March 9, 2011

Jane's Addiction was very good on Friday night at the National.  They opened with "Underground" from their latest album, the stage backdrop revealing the large statues of two naked women and also two real, almost naked women who were on trapezes high above the band, moving their giant flowing white dresses in time with the music.  Also came the first appearance of the masked mime artist that I found quite creepy and reminded me of The Gimp from "Pulp Fiction".

Perry Farrell was in great spirits throughout the show, jumping, dancing and shaking hands with the crowd.  After "Underground", came the crowd favorites "Mountain Song" and one of the highlights of the night for me, "Just Because".  "Been Caught Stealing" was next and there seemed to be some confusion amongst the band getting together on rhythm so it seemed a little jumbled. They got it together in the middle but kind of lost it again at the end. Not a total crash & burn but noticeable but the only musical misstep I heard all night. Otherwise, they were pretty tight.  The sound mix in the theater was good for the instruments though I thought the vocals seemed mixed a little low. Not sure if that was just due to where I was standing. Perry did mention that he had a cold so he may have been mixed low purposefully though he sounded in good voice throughout the show.

"Ain't No Right" followed and then they took their first step into psychedelia with "Ted, Just Admit It...". This brought the dancing girls back to the riser toward the rear of the stage to mime S&M related activities while movies of 60's S&M played on the video screens.  The whole effect captured the song's feeling of titillation vs. upsetting violence well.

Speaking of upsetting, the next song, the new "Twisted Tales" brought back The Gimp for a disturbing performance art piece during the song in which The Gimp, all in a white tux with tails now and face still covered, alternately caressed and smashed baby dolls before "hanging" himself next to a hanging doll.  The videos on the screen seemed to be about some outsider, punk types.  The result was more confusing than clarifying and perhaps when I know the song better it'll all come together.  Judging by the rather polite, golf clap after the song, I think the rest of the audience was just as confused.

Next came an acoustic set that featured "Jane Says" and Perry pulling on a bottle of Jefferson's Vineyards wine and commenting how good it was.  They played my favorite Jane's song, "Three Days", which brought all the requisite power and majesty that the song deserves.  "Stop" led us to the encore, which consisted of another new song "Words Right Out of My Mouth" which also brought back the dancing girls (good) and The Gimp in a weird, bird-like suit (still distubing).  They closed the show with one of their earliest songs, "Whores" and then we were out into the night.  I think they played about 90 minutes but I don't think they were ever a marathon show type band so that seems about usual for them.  Overall, I'd give the show an A- / B+.