Jane's Addiction At Lila Cockrell Theater
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By Jamie Harvey
Jane's Addiction practically defined alternative rock in the early '90s, and even today, with a new release, 2011's The Great Escape Artist, they still serve a segment of rock music that's starved for attention. Known for Perry Farrell's electric vocals, Dave Navarro's scorching melodic guitar work, Stephen Perkins' tribal-influenced drumming, and with current Strays-era bassist Chris Chaney pulling off some of the band's most instantly recognizable bass lines, the foursome had San Antonio's rock fans out in droves.
After psych rockers the Duke Spirit kicked things off, I noticed there were a few strange figures milling around, capturing women from the audience and assembling them in a chain gang of sorts. Jane's Addiction have been known for their theatrics, and as this group of captives was led across the stage before the show began, I knew we were in for a visual and auditory treat.
The band emerged amid the fog and cool-toned lighting, opening with a newer track "Underground," which features a rare appearance of Navarro on background vocals. Despite the theater seating, the audience rushed the stage in excitement, making my front-row seat irrelevant. The effect that Jane's Addiction has on their fans is quite special. The crowd was in a frenzy, a magnetic wonderment as if the band was a drug to them. Beautifully leather-feathered burlesque dancers emerged, among of them longtime Jane's Addiction dancer and Farrell's wife, Etty, and another performer swathed in spikes ascended a rope in spectacular grandeur.
Next, the familiar favorites started to roll out, as the bass line introduction of "Mountain Song" had everyone ready to sing along. Farrell began what would be a show-long meet-and-greet with audience members in the front, swigging from a bottle of red wine as he strutted along the stage. Then it was on to the up-tempo GRAMMY-nominated track "Been Caught Stealing" as the crowd danced along.
My favorite Jane's Addiction songs are the long, sultry numbers, so when the unmistakable drums began for "Ted, Just Admit It," I was pleased. I don't know if any other band could pull off a song like this; it's so bizarre and wears its sexual ideology on its sleeve. As the band followed with another new song, "Twisted Tales," there was some odd baby doll destruction happening onstage that can only be described as disturbing.
An acoustic segment was kicked off with the sweet song "Classic Girl," which was followed by the quintessential Jane's Addiction song, "Jane Says." The song has a very different vibe live, sparked by a meandering intro.
The main set ended with "Three Days" and "Ocean Size," which are two of my favorite Jane's Addiction songs. The opus that is "Three Days" spun the crowd with its lurid tale, and then shattered it with the aggressiveness of "Ocean Song," which features some stellar guitar work.
The audience begged, and Jane's Addiction delivered an encore, appropriately finishing with "Stop!" But the fans didn't want them to leave, evidenced by the need for security to shoo the crowd away, none of them wanting their last fix of Jane's Addiction to be over.
To catch Jane's Addiction in a city near you, click here for tour dates.
"Been Caught Stealing"
"Ain't No Right"
"Ted, Just Admit It"
"End To The Lies"
(Texas-based Jamie Harvey is the rock community blogger for GRAMMY.com. She attended 112 shows in 2010. You can follow her musical adventures and concert recaps at www.hardrockchick.com.)