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Jane’s Addiction, Manchester Apollo. 2nd June 2024

Updated: Jun 3

Nothing quite screams 90s American alt rock to me more than Jane’s Addiction. I know that doesn’t seem like a particularly broad spectrum, but pre britpop, this was the sound that ruled my teenage years. Jane’s were all over MTV, back when MTV played music and in Perry Farrell, they had a genuinely bafflingly brilliant star. He looked like an exotic alien. He still sorta does. In fact considering what this now reformed original line up have put themselves through over the years, they’ve all weathered rather well. After a heavy weekend and having my ears blown off by Tool last night, I walk into the Apollo a little groggy. I need waking up. ‘Up the Beach’ will do it. It’s not straight for the jugular stuff, more of a rousing forewarning for what’s about to come. All the signs are there to strap in and hold on tight. The pulverising rock n roll swagger of ‘Whores’ follows, proving they’ve no intention of just going through the motions. Swagger is a word that should be tattooed across Farrell’s forehead. Not that you’d see it with his fedora in place. The man has style and one helluva voice. Dave Navarro is no slouch either, dressed as glam cowboy, hat, poncho and that screaming guitar. They come alive on ‘Had a Dad’, Farrell strutting now he’s shed a layer, as that pounding rhythm rips through the room. We’re concentrating on the early stuff, which is to be expected, but ‘1%’ seems to lose some of the crowd and personally I’d love to have heard something from Strays instead. That was a great album, but I think I’m in the minority in thinking so. There’s a bit of a lull for a song or two as things sort of move along fine, but without being overly exciting. Even if Farrell himself is getting more and more animated with each song. ‘Jane Says’ slows him down a bit, Eric grabbing an acoustic and the crowd getting the first real singalong. It’s lovely, but I could do without the thousands of phones that come out. Including the repeat offender in front of me that I have words with a little later. Good vibes continue though. We’re heavy into the hippy side of the catalogue with ‘Then She Did…’ It’s luscious melodies unpinning its epic scope. Dave’s guitar sounds beautiful, him now free of upper clothing showing off a ton of ink. It’s dream like vibe is the perfect mid-set tune and seems to relax the room. Before ‘Been Caught Stealing’ sets it off. It’s loose and raucous, everything you could possibly want from a live performance and the crowd rightly go nuts. It’s probably one the band are sick of, so planting it here feels honest and it signals the accelerator being jammed down as ‘Ocean Size’ explodes. They’ve lost none of the chemistry and Farrell finally looks like he’s enjoying himself. Eric too, stomping around the stage front as he wrestles his bass. The fedora is back for ‘Stop!’ as Farrell dances around the stage leading us gloriously into the break for the encore. We’re only an hour in though, so I’m hoping for a few more at least. “It’s an honour to be here Manchester” Farrell gushes, before they drop the slightly downbeat ‘Three Days’, that dark dominating bass setting up its bombastic psych punk coda. Farrell can’t help but shake his maracas and we’re finally getting the sort of performance I was hoping for. They’re at their tightest here, rolling right into an epic version of ‘Mountain Song’ that twists and turns spectacularly. That would’ve been enough for me, but after a quick reset in which some extra kit is wheeled to the front of stage, everyone but Farrell bangs on some massive tom toms as they close with ‘Chip Away’. It wouldn’t have been my choice to close, but as Farrell tips his hat and declares “It’s been a pleasure”, I’m inclined to agree.


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