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Saturday 11 March 2023

Saturday Live

A short live film today, just three songs and only twenty three minutes (pro- filmed so presumably there's more of this somewhere). Jane's Addiction live in Milan in 1990. Make no mistake, we're very much into rock territory here, if not rawk territory- guitar solos, long hair, three of the players shirtless, huge drum kit, but Jane's have a couple of secret weapons that lift them above being mere 70s rock/ Led Zeppelin revivalists. One, they cook up a thunderous, danceable groove, and two, they have Perry Farrell, a shamanic, otherworldly figure with a off kilter voice, FXed by some delay to give it some shimmer. The sound of Jane's in 1990, on the back of their superb Ritual de lo Habitual album, crossed over from L.A. rock, heading somewhere else (it struck me listening to this live clip again that this is what The Stone Roses were actually aiming for with The Second Coming but various things derailed them in getting there, not least that maybe not all of them wanted to turn into that kind of band). 

Ritual de lo Habitual is one of the few overtly rock albums I own and love- the first side is five songs, opening with Stop! and concluding with the alt- rock, funky shoplifting anthem Been Caught Stealing. Side Two is a fluid, layered, loose limbed, junk shop, utterly compulsive tribute to Perry's girlfriend Xiola Blue who died of a drug overdose three years earlier. Then She Did (a song for Perry's mother, who killed herself when he was four years old) and Of Course are sandwiched between my two favourite Jane's songs- Three Days and the achingly beautiful, blissed out and understated (for them), romantic Classic Girl. Unfortunately it's not part of the film of the gig in Milan- in the film we get Whores, Then She Did and Three Days.

Three Days is an eleven minute epic trip, lyrically the tale of a three day sex and drugs threesome Perry and his partner Casey shared with Xiola. The version in the clip takes up the second half of the film, the descending bassline and shards of guitar opening the backdrop to Perry's vocal, the song building from there. The shift at fourteen forty is huge, the band shifting from atmospherics to funked up rock 'n' roll, the guitar riffing slowly working its way to the fore. Dave Navarro the launches into his solo. The drum part at eighteen minutes is electrifying and then the group come back in, on one chugging, churning chord. Then there's a bit where they take off again and Perry sings, '' 'You're a dick' she said' (or at least that's what I've always thought he sings- turns out, and I only discovered this via social media recently, he sings, 'erotic Jesus' and then, 'lays with his Marys' but it's too late, I will still always sing my version). For the last two minutes they slow down and speed up, ambient rock and The Ramones combined into one song's finale, before flying off again as Navarro spirals around the fretboard. 


Batfish said...

Jane's were, as you might imagine,a force of nature live. I watched their London warm up show for Reading 1991(?). For reasons possibly relating to the intensity of this gig, they never made it on stage at Reading (which was fine, as we were too out of it to get through the gates that day).

Swiss Adam said...

I never saw them in this period, regret it. A friend says Jane's in 1991 were the best band he's ever seen. I did see the reformed JA at Leeds festival in 2002, late afternoon, just the end of their set- we got in late posing as baked potato sellers (a friend ran a baked potato stall so it wasn't an entirely bogus story).