Jane’s Addiction @ Palace Theatre in Albany – 3/2/2012
March 3, 2012 at 10:46 am by Shannon Fromma, Times Union
Jane’s Addiction and their mélange of eclectic eye candy swept through Albany’s sold-out Palace Theatre Friday night. With a pair of story-tall nude statues, non-sequitur film clips and scantily-clad sex pots swinging about, it made sense that the carnival-like spectacle was conceived by one of alternative music’s most avant-garde acts.
Led by frontman Perry Farrell’s entrancing shrill, the group’s genre-bending blend of punk and rock rose from the catacombs of L.A.’s underground club scene in the mid-1980s. They paved the way for legions of alt-rockers with their cutting-edge sound and career-launching music festival, Lollapalooza, which Farrell conceived in 1991 as a farewell tour for a then folding Jane’s.
The “Theatre of Escapists Tour” brings to one again-off again band to the Capital Region for the first time in more than two decades. In April of ’91, they performed at the RPI Field House, returning in August for the aforementioned Lollapalooza at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center. Initially, the announcement was a bit of a head-scratcher. A band once privy to performing for tens of thousands at festivals, playing a small, historic theater? But, Farrell wanted intimacy, to immerse the audience in an “orgy of musical and visual delights.” And, that’s just what they did.
Before the band emerged to the eager audience, a small group of sullen-looking people were pulled across the stage on a rope like leashed dogs. Twice. Pink Floyd’s “Welcome to the Machine” welcomed the band to the stage with a roar from the mainly 30-and-older crowd. Dressed in a ribbed white tank, jacked and tie, Farrell, joined by Dave Navarro on lead guitar, Stephen Perkins on drums and Chris Chaney on bass, opened the night with “Underground” from their most recent album, “The Great Escape Artist.” Two women (one of which was Farrell’s wife, Etty) in seriously long frocks swung above the band, who then proceeded with ”Just Because” from the 2003′s “Strays” and the classic “Mountain Song” off their debut album, “Nothing’s Shocking.” The amped-up “Ain’t No Right” and “Been Caught Stealing” off “Ritual de lo Habitual” shook the walls of the theater (certainly the balcony ledge we were sitting on).
The 51-year-old Farrell sounded good and he’s mastered the art of the echo, but not shockingly time has taken a toll on his instrument. His voice was not as strong as it once was (which he acknowledged at the end of the night) and was often overwhelmed by Navarro’s impeccable guitar playing.
There is no denying that the energetic, ever-charismatic front-man can still move. Farrell thrust about like he was 30 years younger during a flashy rendition of “Ted, Just Admit It” while sex-up filmed clips rolled and Navarro inevitably lost his shirt.
A creepy man came out with a baby doll, strapped it to a noose and proceeded to slice himself with a razor (at times the metaphors were puzzling), just before the band toned things down for an acoustic mid-set before a tall, stuffed bear. The acoustic, kettle drum version of arguably their most popular hit, “Jane Says” was sweet and certainly pleased the crowd.
Highlights from the remainder of their nearly two-hour set kept coming, and included Navarro and Chaney joining Perkins to play drums on one of the band’s earliest songs “Trip Away,” an entrancing rendition of of the dark, “Three Days” and a showstopping “Stop!’.
One of the low lights was without a doubt the topless woman in the front row that was overly eager to join the band’s experience, much to nearly every one’s chagrin (especially Perkins whom she decided to maul as the band graciously big farewell to fans).
Belgian garage rockers, Black Box Revelation, opened the show to a slim but enthusiastic crowd. The duo of vocalist and guitarist Jan Paternoster and drummer Dries Van Dijck set the tone with their eclectic, edgy sound. Reminiscent of the Black Keys or White Stripes with a Mick Jagger/Oasis edge, the band played 40 minutes of songs from their repertoire, including their recently-released “Shiver of Joy,” in what Paternoster described as “one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever played.”
Who: Jane’s Addiction with Black Box Revelation
Where: Palace Theatre, 19 Clinton Street, Albany
When: 8:30 p.m. Friday
Tickets: Sold out crown of almost 2,900
Length: Black Box Revelation: 40 minutes; Jane’s Addiction 1 hour, 50 minutes
Info: 465-3334; http://www.palacetheatre.com