Gig Review: Jane’s Addiction – Brixton Academy – 20th August 2014

Review by Mark Kelly

It’s becoming a depressingly familiar spectacle: a long established band revisiting one of their classic albums and playing it in order, allowing themselves and their followers to wallow in an orgy of nostalgia. However, when the band in question is Jane’s Addiction, and the album is Nothing’s Shocking, it’s unlikely that the evening will play out to be anywhere near so comfortable.

 The reason for this is that Jane’s have never shown the slightest hint of giving up any of their edge. That edge is evident in Perry Farrell’s whippet thin former heroin addict frame; in Dave Navarro, stripped to the waist and looking positively satanic; in the almost total lack of interaction within the band, and in the tightness of their playing.
As a frontman Farrell, bottle of wine in hand, gives the impression of being part shaman and part old time huckster. During Ted Just Admit It he tells us that he wants “the smell of sex and hashish and revolution in the air”. During the same song we have the strangely disturbing spectacle of the surprisingly young audience chanting along to the refrain of “sex and violence, sex IS violence”.

Being Jane’s Addiction, this is more than just a gig, this is a show. There are go-go dancers during Three Days, and after Stop the band (apart from Perry who is now playing drums) attempt to ‘levitate’ two scantily clad blondes in harnesses.

As well as Nothing’s Shocking, we get choice cuts from Ritual De Lo Habitual, and disappointingly only one song (Just Because) from the excellent Strays. To close we get a genuine Jane’s rarity: Chip Away, which only appeared on a free Ninja tour sampler in 2009. Ritual de lo Habitual

So, Jane’s Addiction: edgy, naughty, irreverent and not short of surprises. Maybe they’ll undertake a longer visit to these shores before too long.

Mark Kelly