Review: Jack Foley
JANES Addiction are one of those bands that seem to thrive
on being unpredictable - but then what would you expect from an
outfit that boasts Perry Farrell as its lead singer?
Having burst onto the music scene in the late Eighties/early
Nineties, and been credited with being the first, true, 90s alternative
band, they parted company several times throughout that decade,
before properly reforming at the beginning of the year and putting
out their first studio album for 13 years.
The tour which followed was always going to be a spectacular
affair, with fans clamouring to catch them before any further
splits, so it was almost a privilege to catch them at the end
of the UK leg, at the Hammersmith Apollo on Wednesday, November
And, from the moment lead guitarist, Dave Navarro, walked onto
the stage, flanked by bassist, Eric Avery, and drummer, Stephen
Perkins, and played a spellbinding guitar solo while stood on
top of a small set of speakers, you had the feeling you were in
for something special.
The hour and 15-minute set which followed was crammed with powerful
rock-outs, eccentric behaviour and the odd acoustic moment, which
served to underline why the band remains one of the biggest in
Each member is a character, vying for the limelight, with Farrell
just about taking centre-stage, courtesy of the tight black, all-leather
catsuit he was wearing, and his penchant for the bizarre. Resembling,
at times, an effeminate ballerina, or a super-charged fly, Farrell
delivered each song with almost unbridled enthusiasm, clearly
in love with the occasion, the fans, and anyone who will honour
On one occasion, he thanked the women in the crowd for turning
out in such droves, and urged the men to do the same, claiming
the credit for being able to assemble so many pretty girls
in one place. On another, he slipped in among them, quickly offering
kisses to those fortunate enough to receive them.
And then there was the drinking (a bottle of JD was used as a
prop, more than anything), and the wilder extravagances - most
of them sexual in nature.
There were times when your eyes didnt know where to look,
for vying with Farrell for an equal spot in the limelight were
the majestic Navarro, and the lively Perkins. Both are musicians
of the highest calibre, and both revel in their own ability, providing
several scintillating solos for the benefit of the crowd.
Navarro, in particular (who temporarily hooked up with the Red
Hot Chili Peppers during Janes time out), is a mystical
presence, appearing bare-chested from the start, and sporting
nipple rings and a wide range of tattoos, which represent the
ultimate rock image.
His guitar work, however, is exemplary; even mesmerising. Whether
providing the fierce drive of Janes Addictions rockier moments,
such as Ocean Size and Been Caught Stealing, or
making things more mellow, as in the surprise acoustic version
of former single, Just Because, he bears all the hallmarks
of one of modern musics mystic greats. A living guitar legend,
if you will.
From the moment it began, to the closing strains of Jane Says,
this was a magical evening; a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity which
couldnt fail to impress. Janes Addiction is compulsive,
and the highlights, of which there were many, included that acoustic
rendition of Just Because, and their crowd-pleasing medley of
Born on the Bayou, mixed with Wild Thing, which
eventually gave way into previous single, True Nature,
with its scintillating mix of drum loops and slide guitar.
The promise of a return visit by Farrell, Navarro and co next
Summer is something we would urge you not to miss