Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and Jail Weddings
Sept. 30, 2010
Some of the most intense music listening experiences I've ever had have been while listening to Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's Orange album in my car. The fuzzy, blues-infused punk trio fronted by an Elvis Presley obsessed vocalist always made for a corking Sunday drive.
And although last night's appearance by the Blues Explosion at Hollywood's Troubador was packed to the seams with enthusiastic fans, there was something lacking in the band's performance. When the group set up their gear before the show, Spencer's trademark Theremin was brought onstage.
But it wasn't until the very end of the hour long set that he started using the wonky, whiny contraption. Even then, it emitted some unimpressive, slowly oscillating sounds. The song "Bellbottom's" was fine with its fuzzy guitars and kinetic drumming, but the whole jam was truncated. Eliminated from the performance was the studio ending which involves the three band members droning the chorus repeatedly. This sort of editing lent the whole set an abridged, rushed feeling.
The primary reason I drove up to Los Angeles was to see Jail Weddings who will be releasing their new album, Love is Lawless Oct. 26. They'll also be appearing at Long Beach's Alex's Bar on Oct. 28.
This was my first time seeing the 9-piece neo-doo wop group and I don't know what to say. With two female backup singers, one dressed in a shiny prom dress and the other in a sequined gown, both accompanied by violin, guitars and saxophone, this band is equal parts B-52's and Dusty Rhodes and the Riverband. I feel like I should have been blown away. I wasn't.
The backing harmonies felt flat, and worst of all, the sound mix was lousy. It's quite possible that the PA system and acoustics in the Troubadour aren't sophisticated enough to facilitate a band of this instrumental complexity. The set's saving grace was the enthusiasm of lead singer Gabriel Hart combined with the beauty and presence of backing vocalists Katya Hublak and Jada Wagensomer. These graces were enough to keep me intrigued and wanting to go back for the Long Beach show.
The Crowd: Old, and young. Girls in high go-go boots and skull t-shirts.
Overheard: "This corner of the bar has a lot of bass."