Jane's Addiction May 9, Brooklyn Bowl
The idea of a band performing a classic album in its entirety is pretty worn out by now, and Jane’s Addiction has such a slim discography (just four studio albums since 1988) that the pioneering alt-rockers are likely to play much of 1988 debut Nothing’s Shocking at any given concert anyway. Still, it was a treat to hear the entire album start to finish at Brooklyn Bowl on Friday, and the full-album conceit gave the performance a welcome focus. Lead singer Perry Farrell seemingly did his best to derail that focus, with his typical stream-of-consciousness ramblings between and during songs, and a complete failure on “Jane Says,” which the band barely managed to salvage. (“I missed the second verse,” he admitted after the song ended. “It ain’t the first time.”)
Farrell’s nutty proclamations are part of his charm, though, and at least he was clearly enthusiastic about the show, pumping up the crowd of devoted fans (“You ain’t driving a tractor!”) and expressing his gratitude for their attention (“That is better than a motherf*cking pork sandwich!”). That’s more than could be said for ever-shirtless guitarist Dave Navarro, who looked bored much of the time, although his playing was as sharp as always. It’s not clear whether it was by design or coincidence, but either way, Angelo Moore, who played saxophone on the original recording of “Idiots Rule,” was in the house for a late show with his band Fishbone, and his guest appearance on the song was one of the show’s highlights.
The dancers who joined the band for the encore felt more out of place, throwing out casino chips while wearing showgirl headdresses during “Been Caught Stealing” and posing awkwardly during “Three Days.” That was nothing compared to the discomfort of watching the performers who hung from flesh-hooks during show-closer “Chip Away,” though. It was a disconcerting way to end what was mostly a celebratory evening.