ROBOTS & ELECTRONIC BRAINS

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion @ ULU, London (4/09/99)

There's no getting away from the fact that the man looks good on stage. DAMN good. No I said DAMN good. YEAH. (My apologies Ladies and Gentlemen, I won't be doing that again. There should be a law, however, stating that all rock stars should look like this---handsome in a dangerous way, slightly greasy and completely insane.) For the uninitiated (and after 5 or so albums, where have you been?), JSBX play a somewhat shambolic mix of Rock and Roll and blues with a nineties edge. It's the kind of shambling that takes years to craft and hone yet these boys have managed it seemingly without difficulty. They still sound like noone else, despite the fairly simple ingredients that make up their sound. OK, they have essentially been playing the same song all these years and, yes, Spencer does tend to say 'bluuuuuuueeeeeees exploooooosion' far too often. But what the fuck, it works. It comes as no surprise that tonight's 45 minute set (a tad short, but there you go) is at the same time both highly professional and ridiculously overblown. It's impossible to watch Jon Spencer without both longing to be doing what he's doing and wanting to dance and I certainly did both. As for the material, well, pretty much the Reading set by all accounts. It even includes a ferocious and dramatically elongated version of "Bellbottoms," which culminated in the drummer being left to pound out the drums for a minute or two on his own, Jon Spencer dropping his guitar and kneeling, accompanied by an almost completely different riff from the guitarist. Long sentence? You never heard the song! From "2 kindsa love" to "I wanna make it alright," the whole set is blistering. If you want songs about your meaningless existence and a sound for a hangover go elsewhere. BUT If you want entertainment, if you want a party atmosphere, if you want to be blown away by a hurricane of a band and if you want a crowd who couldn't be more into something if they had to smoke it, watch a show like this one. And let's face it---who else do you know who could get away with wearing silver pants? Eh? (EH/Radiant Kovacs)
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