Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Heaven, London
Wednesday 08 December 2010
The warm-up act was only half joking when they said they'd been asked to play their set twice to fill in as a snow-impeded Jon Spencer Blues Explosion raced across London. More than an hour after they left us, the audience was decidedly tepid. So it was lucky that when JSBX finally turned up, their menacingly synthesised New York sound soon sent the temperature gauges soaring.
Opening with a "Thank you for waiting" and "Chowder", the band, fronted by a leather-trousered Jon Spencer, began strutting and whooping at top speed – their early-Nineties punk-revival spirit undimmed. The notorious "Fuck Shit Up" really got the crowd going.
For a band on tour promoting a retrospective album, Dirty Shirt Rock'n'Roll: The First Ten Years, nearly 20 years after they first started out, JSBX sound remarkably modern. But having informed the likes of the White Stripes and The Strokes, who may well have appropriated their devil-may-care performance style, what was once progressive now sounds like it has been done before – and probably done better.
Spencer spat plosives into the microphone with panache – so that while the words were often unintelligible, his attitude and charisma kept his audience with him.
The band, which never quite achieved the renown of their early Noughties counterparts, appear to have a bit of a chip on their shoulder. During "Blues Explosion Attack" the band sings: "[It's]1997 and the Blues Explosion is under attack from all sides/ By the media/ Don't listen to what they have to say/ Make up your own mind/ Stand up for rock'n'roll." But then, they are a garage rock band.
A teeming audience, many of whom had travelled a long way in the snow, were happy in the palm of the band's hand. Overall, an energetic and interesting set.
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