Check out more pictures from the show in Timothy Norris' slideshow, Jane's Addiction @ The Roxy.
Jane's Addiction needs to either quit it with last-minute gigs or take up residency in my back yard. For what seemed like the fifth time in less than two years, Perry Farrell and company announced another surprise show just this week — this time at the Roxy, the site of Jane's' first live album — sending Tweeters twitching over tickets and employment-challenged devotees to line up all day once more (been there, done that, working now).
Having gone away and come back with a new bassist almost as many times can test a fan's patience, too. But whatever the lineup, or however you make your way in, never pass up the opportunity to watch one of the greatest bands “bred and spread” in Los Angeles.
And Jane's on the Sunset Strip is all about sweat, sleaze and silicone. (Where else would you overhear, “I'm clean. I just got my blood test results,” other than in the Roxy's bathroom?) What looked like another unnecessary pre-performance burlesque teaser slowly turned into a rather awesome freak show that included one dancer sticking long needles into the side of her mouth.
And the circus isn't even in town yet. She and another girl were quickly lifted into the air once the band entered the stage — decorated in Jane's' typical affinity for Day of the Dead-style of flowers, roses and a stained-glass Virgin Mary — and launched into “Whores,” swinging back and forth above the foursome while suspended by meat hooks inserted into their backs (really). Ouch.
Considering all the drugs they've collectively consumed over the years, these guys should not look as good as they do — Farrell, Dave Navarro and former Guns n' Roses bassist Duff McKagan, all chiseled, toned and smooth with nary a chest hair, and Stephen Perkins, just happy to be behind the drums, wind blowing through his curly mohawk.
Last year's reunion with original bassist Eric Avery was brief (apparently, so was the band's recording time with Trent Reznor), but having McKagan up there made perfect sense. Jane's, Red Hot Chili Peppers and GNR couldn't be more L.A. to the bone if they were born on the freeway. They've swapped bandmates and shared the same formative playing years and the same survival stories, give or take a deceased member (RHCP's Hillel Slovak).
While McKagan looked right at home during the bass-heavy “Ain't No Right,” Farrell was weaving in and out from underneath the swinging dancers. He was later joined by his missus, Etty, and yet another dance during the Ted Bundy-inspired “Ted, Just Admit It…” The three got even cozier on “Three Days,” the band's ten-minute-plus opus about a menage a trois.
Never mind the celebs in the audience, which included Billy Corgan, Tom Morello, Donovan Leitch, McKagan' model wife Susan Holmes, fellow model Devon Aoki, Brent Bolthouse and Freaks and Geeks and Knocked Up actor Martin Starr. Like a rhythmless Chippendales dancer, Farrell likes to play to the crowd as if they're all horny old women waiting to stuff their Social Security checks down his G-string.
As always, listening to Farrell is even funnier, especially when he's spouting cosmic jive like, “I don't keep track, I just keep going.” Forget writing an autobiography. Farrell should publish a compendium of Perry-isms, or become the next Twitter/blog sensation, something akin to “Shit My Dad Says” — Shit Our Perry Says.
A two-song encore included an unsurprising “Jane Says” and “Chip Away,” which had Perkins, Navarro and McKagan on the skins, sounding like a three-man pow-wow. If Jane's were really returning to their live roots, and this truly was a “fans-only” show, why not dig deeper into that oh-so-special first album? When was the last time they played the bluesy harmonica of “My Time” or their excellent cover of Velvet Underground's “Rock & Roll?”
After 1990's Ritual de lo Habitual, Jane's belonged to the world. With their 1987 self-titled debut, they were still ours. Maybe next time. And we suspect — dread/hope — that there will be a next time.