It had been 22 years since L.A’s own Jane’s Addiction put itself on the map with a run of 7 shows at the John Anson Ford Theatre in support of their inaugural album, “Nothing’s Shocking”. The band returned to the Ford Theatre for two shows this week that should mark the beginning of a run of shows in support of it’s new, soon to be released album, “The Great Escape Artist”.
For fans of serious rock and roll the 1980’s were the dark ages. Jane’s Addiction, and a handful of other bands, broke open the door for the resurgence of arena style rock both with its hard hitting punk influenced compositions, and Farrell’s traveling rock and roll circus; Lollapalooza that helped to break bands like Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, and Smashing Pumpkins.
I have to admit I didn’t give “Nothing’s Shocking” a listen back in the 80’s when it dropped because the single the band released in support of the album was “Jane Says” which gave no clue that Jane’s Addiction was a serious ass kicking rock and roll band.
By the time Jane’s released it’s second album, “Ritual De Lo Habitual” it was clear this was a band to be reckoned with. They achieved mainstream success with “Been Caught Stealing” and “Stop”. I saw the original lineup of the band, which included now departed Bassist, Eric Avery once before they broke up for the first time in 1991 and they floored me.
The band later reformed in 1997 with Flea of the Red Hot Chili Peppers filling in on Bass. The latest incarnation of Jane’s includes founding members Perry Farrell, Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins along with seasoned session Bassist Chris Chaney, who played with the band on its third studio album “Strays” before yet another breakup. Chaney is also the current Bass Player for Navarro’s side band, “Camp Freddy”.
When I saw Jane’s in support of their “Strays” release back in 2003 it was a dissappointing experience. The band played their new album in it’s entirety, added a couple of standards and that was it. That’s not to say “Strays” was a poor album. Quite to the contrary. It was a surprisingly strong album for a band that had not recorded in decades. Still, it was a tight, but all too short of a set. This would not be the case at the Ford on Monday night. The band played two songs from the new album, but mostly played their biggest hard core hits.
Though I’ve lived in Los Angeles my entire life I’d never seen a show at the Ford Theatre. The Ford is a cross between the Greek Theatre and the Santa Barbara County Bowl, on a much smaller scale. All tickets for the event were General Admission but to my pleasant surprise the entire venue was seated. This made for a comfortable and intimate event.
Performances began with two opening acts before Jane’s took to the stage at 9:30. The band ripped into their first couple of songs “Whores”, an outtake from their early albums and “Just Because” off of the “Strays” album. They then tore into a string of 6 classics off their first two albums including “Ain’t No Right” “Been Caught Stealing” and “Three Days” off the “Ritual” album. The band sounded like they hadn’t missed a step since 1989.
Ever the showmen, the stage was engulfed in a smoke screen accompanied by a laser light show. Mid way through the set scantily clad dancers began to emerge from behind the stage who worked their way down the hill behind the stage to provide some sultry dance moves to the experience.
The band played a super tight 75 minute set closing with an encore of it’s biggest hit “Jane Says”. The highlight of the show was, however, a medley of songs from a couple of other monster Los Angeles bands; The Doors and X. A ripping punked out version of The Doors “L.A Woman” was mixed with X’s “Nausea” from it’s debut album “Los Angeles” in an homage to LA’s great rock and roll past.
It was clear that Jane’s wanted to reclaim it’s well deserved title as the best band in the City of Angels. With all due respect to the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jane’s still reigns supreme as Los Angeles’s kings of Rock and Roll which for this night was alive well and living in the hills of Hollywood.