Monday, June 08, 2009

Jane’s Addiction/Nine Inch Nails, 6/7/09

Tonight, Jane’s Addiction and Nine Inch Nails played Jones Beach Theater, along with Street Sweeper Social Club. One thing I felt fortunate about growing up in Colorado was seeing shows at Red Rocks, but I have to say, seeing concerts literally on the water—as with Jones Beach—feels special, too. And even though Jane’s frontman Perry Ferrell kept saying, “Tonight is a historic event,” it sort of was.

Stephen Perkins

Not only was this the original lineup of Jane’s Addiction’s first time playing in the New York area since 1991, but—if Ferrell’s memory serves correct from the way he introduced “Jane Says” at the end of the set—this is also the band’s 25th anniversary. The group played a hit-filled set, including (going by memory and not in order) “Had a Dad,” “Mountain Song,” “Ocean Size,” “Ted, Just Admit It…” (accompanied by a canopy depicting sex and violence and Natural Born Killers footage, see below), “Stop!” “Ain’t No Right” and “Been Caught Stealing.” (Why no “Classic Girl”?) Throughout the set Ferrell was swigging a bottle of wine in between poses and spouting off about grabbing his crotch, and how sometimes you’ve got to do it. (This was around the time it dawned on me that JA is pretty much an even split between the Doors and Led Zep, with a little Bootsy Collins thrown in.) At one point during “Ocean Size,” I think it was, Ferrell said, “I was just getting to the sexy part,” which had me in stitches because it was so non sequitur. It was nice to see original bassist Eric Avery back in the fold, but he seemed out of it for most of the show or upset. Nonetheless, they played a great set and—for not having seen them in 10 years—it was, I guess, historic, for me personally.

Tonight was the first time I had seen Nine Inch Nails live. What struck me most about about their show was that frontman Trent Reznor and the rest of the band hate instruments. Each member threw a guitar at one point (as my friend Reed said, “That acoustic guitar didn’t stand a chance, Robin Finck”), and Reznor threw several mic stands at drummer Ilan Rubin. “Burn,” from the Natural Born Killers soundtrack was a surprise, a cover of “I’m Afraid of Americans” was welcome, and “Wish” was fun, but I would have liked to hear even more stuff from the first few releases (especially since this year is the 20th anniversary of Pretty Hate Machine). I found it odd that they were playing in the middle—going on during daylight—even though they played a full set, including an encore of “Hurt.” The dichotomy between the NIN and Jane’s Addiction fans was pretty black and white, and many of the NIN fans seemed to leave during the Jane’s set. At the end of the night, there was a girl on the way to the parking lot with a “Free Hugs” sign, and we can only imagine which band she had come to see.

Openers Street Sweeper Social Club—a new group featuring Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello and Coup rapper Boots Riley—were quite good, too. They came onstage to Darth Vader’s theme in Star Wars. Throughout the set, Riley kept saying, “We’re more than a band. We’re a social club.” Their novel feat, aside from Morello’s always incendiary guitar playing, was doing an almost note-for-note rendition of M.I.A.’ s “Paper Planes.” The music sounded better than the original samples. The band’s debut is out June 16, and I like it quite a bit. In a way, this band was the glue between DIW optimism and recession-fueled negativity that held together the other two bands tonight even though they played earlier. In fact the only drawback from the whole night—and detractor to the bands’ anti-consumerism ethos—was the venue’s high prices for drinks (and they don’t serve alcohol). It’s a good thing its on the water.

Street Sweeper Social Club
Street Sweeper Social Club
Street Sweeper Social Club

A swan on the harbor during Street Sweeper’s set Swan
Nine Inch Nails
Trent ReznorNine Inch NailsTrent ReznorNine Inch NailsNine Inch NailsNine Inch NailsTrent ReznorNine Inch NailsNine Inch NailsReznor and Finck
Jane’s Addiction
Jane's AddictionJane's AddictionJane's AddictionAvery and Ferrell with FriendJane's AddictionJane's AddictionJane's AddictionTed, Just Admit It...Ferrell and AveryJane's AddictionPerkins and NavarroPerkins, Navarro and FerrellPerry FerrellJane SaysFerrell and Navarro

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