I can’t think of a better place to be than Summerfest on the 4th of July. A couple years ago I had the pleasure of seeing Iron Maiden on the 4th at the Marcus Amphitheater, which was not only one of the best shows I’ve ever seen, but one of the best days I’ve had. This year’s 4th was just as good, as Jane’s Addiction was on one of the ground stages that night.
The band before Jane’s Addiction was called Failure, an alternative rock band originally from the 1990s and just came back in 2014. I was impressed by their stuff, and were a good opener for Jane’s Addiction. As WSUM’s very own Matt Cortner stated when I asked them what they sounded like, he said they were “A Perfect Circle, minus Tool, plus Green Day.” How might that sound? Think hard rock with a lot of bass, but not hard enough to sound metal. Also, their lead singer, Ken Andrews, sounds a lot like Billie Joe Armstrong.
But let’s go back to Jane’s Addiction. What I like about them is that they really will mix up their setlist (I saw a band this summer that had the exact same setlist as they did when I saw them a year before – it was kind of a letdown). With that in mind, we really had no idea what they were going to start with. Then Perry Farrell, the lead singer in his usual goofy ways, comes out in a sparkling silver suit, yelling:
“COMIN’ DOWN THE MOUNTAIN!!”
And we knew immediately that they opened with one of their most popular songs, and most frequent song played live, Mountain Song.
They continued to play big hit after big hit, playing a lot from their two biggest albums, “Nothing’s Shocking” and “Ritual de lo Habitual.” They played 12 songs total, and six of them were from Nothing’s Shocking alone. It is not because they have a lack of songs to choose from, but because it is just such a good album. They really could have played two more from that album, “Idiot’s Rule” and “Pig’s in Zen,” but they stuck to the other big hits (I, admittedly, was disappointed that they did not play Idiot’s Rule, but that’s just me).
The best parts of the show actually might have been in the middle, which is something I usually don’t see during shows. Right after they played “Ted, Just Admit It…,” a seven minute rock jam, they went to play their hit “Been Caught Stealing.” Later, after playing “Ocean Size,” they played another hit, “Stop!” that had the entire place scream its outro. Jane’s Addiction use of switching from Nothing’s Shocking to Ritual de lo Habitual was well done, as shown by those two examples.
Perhaps the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen in a live show happened during Jane’s Addiction. For their second to last song, they had two women swinging back in forth, having a line attached to their backs. The best part was that while one of the girls was swinging back and forth, the other was just flailing back and forth, and the whole song seemed comedic. She eventually stopped swinging and someone from stage crew had to push her to get more momentum. It was so weird, and that girl’s performance was just as bad as “Left Shark” from this year’s Super Bowl game.
However, Jane’s Addiction finished their set with “Jane Says,” a great way to finish off the night. Though there was no encore, there really didn’t need to be one. They got out their hits and it proved to be quite a night. I will remember this show as hearing some of my favorite alternative rock songs, screaming the words with one of my closest friends, and trying to figure out why two women were swinging back and forth on stage.