Jane's Addiction, The Duke Spirit - McFarlin Auditorium - 5/10/12

Jane's Addiction, The Duke Spirit McFarlin Auditorium Thursday, May 10

Last night's show was definitely a situation where the venue didn't seem right for the band and its audience. Jane's Addiction put on a great 85-minute performance, but McFarlin Auditorium is not a good venue for a rock show, and it's pretty obvious why they don't have concerts of this caliber more often. Why this place -- where alcohol isn't served, the seating arrangements are confusing, and the seats are made for a five-year-old's body -- over others in town?

Frontman Perry Farrell certainly enjoyed the intimate atmosphere. With a bottle of wine in his hand, he invented a nickname ("Donkey Kick"), talked up Deep Ellum and bagged on FTD Flowers. Towards the end, he even befriended a guy named Matt up front, and tried to hook him up with a single lady.

Drummer Stephen Perkins was in his permanent playing position, hunched over his drum stool, pumping out thwacks of tribal hits. Guitarist Dave Navarro made the funky squeals look like warm-up exercises, and bassist Chris Chaney kept the spirit of Eric Avery's basslines alive, even though he's been through the band's revolving door of bassists over the years.

As expected, the over-30 crowd wanted to hear the band's quintessential material from Nothing's Shocking and Ritual De Lo Habitual more than anything else. After opening with "Underground" from last year's The Great Escape Artist, everyone in the venue was on their feet as Chaney played the intro to "Mountain Song." Other highlights included "Ain't No Right," "Classic Girl," "Been Caught Stealing," "Jane Says" and a sprawling version of "Three Days."

Visually, the four-piece was joined on select songs by two females and one male, swaying along in various costumes. Other songs had the band backed by explicit video footage -- the kind that your parents and Tipper Gore never wanted you to ever see. The chilled-out reggae of "Ted, Just Admit It" was accompanied by a montage of old S&M bondage films with plenty of stripteases and spankings.

After finishing their two-song encore with "Stop!," the whole place was quickly deserted and many had a few smokes on the steps outside. Earlier, London quintet The Duke Spirit (not to be confused with Delta Spirit), put on 40 minutes of late-night glam. Worthwhile, yet the set seemed a little long in the tooth after a while.

Personal bias: I've never been a big Jane's fan, and I seemed to have missed their impact by being born in 1979. I've met people born at least three years before me who had a rebirth after seeing the band in the late '80s. I was a Nirvana kid, so that's my excuse.

Random note: Dave Navarro gave Oliver Peck and Elm Street Tattoo a shout-out, because of his appearance on Ink Master.

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