The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – [Live]

Friday, 19 October 2012

Oh, what times these are that we're-a-livin' in! What does it take to get a new Blues Explosion record? Maybe it takes simple determination? Maybe it's the simple passing of time? Maybe it's revisiting your entire catalog and then reissuing it which makes you fall in love again? With the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, it might be all of the above. The last time I saw the Blues Explosion was ten years ago. That is not a typo, ten years. They simply don't tour as much anymore. So, for a band that's constantly on my playlist, passing up their recent show in Boston was simply out of the question.

Remember the following when you see the Blues Explosion:

  1. The Blues Explosion have been on the road very sporadically over the past ten years, and hardly put out albums anymore. Their most recent release, Meat And Bone, comes "hot off the heals" of Damage, which was released in 2004. 2004! I am actually surprised at how their presence is missed in the current music scene. After all, the Blues Explosion have a tradition of writing two-minute songs which blow most other albums out of the water. That's why the Blues Explosion being back, not as a reunion but as a continuation of their career, is so important right now.
  2. The boys have still the power and the showmanship is still top notch. No one does crowd work like the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion. Yes, it's great to see a band, threatened by obscurity, still put up such a great fight. I'm almost convinced Jon Spencer must have gone through a couple hearts to still have the vitality he's got. So the Blues Explosion have still got effortless execution, play hard as fuck, and yes, Spencer is still constantly trash talking and interacting with his crowd. After all, is it really an Explosion if there was no one there to see it?
  3. The Treats. The show presented at the Middle East was definitely not the set list I expected. I knew that the Blues Explosion would draw heavily from Meat And Bone for their new shows, but I did not expect the light peppering that their back catalog received. How do they make up for it? By playing some truly unexpected obscure shit. Case in point, at the Cambridge date, we got “Gadzooks!” and “Shirt Jac,” among others. “Shirt Jac,” people! What balls! That alone is worth the price of admission!

I still recall the last time I saw the Blues Explosion in 2002. It was the last date of their tour, in San Diego, and the band played for two and a half hours. I've been wanting a repeat of that show and, after ten years, it feels oh-so-good. Welcome back, boys!


Further Reading:
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion –
Meat And Bone[CD review]
Ground Control –
"The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion Keeps It Simple" – [Feature Article]

The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion's 2012 North American tour continues. For an updated list of shows, click here .

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