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The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (JSBX) kicked off the whole punk blues vibe with their garage-rock-meets-rhythm-and-blues-meets-crazy-noise-rock sound, turning quite a few heads and influencing the likes of The Hives, Black Keys and White Stripes. After a scary break several years ago, JSBX returned last year with new album Meat + Bone and another Aussie tour, following their most recent visit back in the summer of 2010/11.
Tonight’s gig at the Hi Fi was not sold out, which was disappointing when elsewhere we had international acts Kiss and Motley Crue, Australia’s Nick Cave, and Future Music Festival – where else would anyone want to be than witnessing the wild rock ‘n’ roll craziness of JSBX? Jon Spencer and his partners Judah Bauer (guitar & vocals) and Russell Simins (drums & vocals) served up a lesson in rock – this is how it should be done. This was loud, funny & sexy. It just oozed cool; there was no fakery or rock-poser silliness, just honest rock ‘n’ roll from an incredibly loud guitars-and-drum trio, who are as good as it gets.
JSBX attracted an eclectic mix of fans, hard and fast enough for some, arty yet completely without pretence for others. It’s a good combination: the one thing everyone has in common is that they can shake their arse. The intense ferocity certainly lit up the eyes of the indie kids and raised the fists of the rock kids. From snappy 2-minute songs to 8-minute extended outros, there was no fluffing about tonight – except when early in the gig Jon Spencer realised that he had the wrong microphone and unceremoniously dumped it at the back of the stage.
A sizeable chunk of the raucous new album was performed tonight, a highlight being the set opener Black Mold as it set the scene for the carnage yet to come. JSBX dug deeply in their back catalogue with the likes of Orange and Sweat crushing all of us in their wall of sound. A gig full of blood, sweat and tears – JSBX gave us everything they had, and it was more than enough.