When Jane’s Addiction first released Nothing’s Shocking
in 1988, some critics dismissed it for its sometimes-juvenile lyrics (and to their point, “Standing in the Shower… Thinking” isn’t particularly deep). But the album proved to open up the floodgates for what would be christened “alternative rock,” and it certainly had a hand in helping Nirvana become a crossover success. The songs have held up well over time too. Last night in front of a capacity crowd at House of Blues, the band played the album in its entirety and the group showed it’s still a fierce live act even if lead singer Perry Farrell now comes off more like a whimsical hippie than an enraged punk rocker. You can see a slideshow from the concert here
Farrell, who said something about having eaten some bad oysters the night before (perhaps a euphemism for something other than food poisoning?), was in particularly good form. Using a monitor to manipulate his vocals, he screeched and wailed on tracks such as “Ocean Size” and “Mountain Song,” the latter of which allowed ace drummer Stephen Perkins to hammer away at his enormous drum kit with an intensity that recalled his younger days. In fact, his propulsive drumming was a real treat and provided the right amount of tempered aggression that the short, 70-minute set needed. Of course, guitarist Dave Navarro was no slouch either. Navarro, who was shirtless by the set’s end, effortlessly played the searing guitar riffs that turned “Ted Just Admit It” into a psychedelic rock dirge. For their rendition of the album’s big hit, “Jane Says,” the band stripped things down and Perkins came out to center stage to play a steel drum while Navarro picked up an acoustic guitar. It was the set’s highlight as the song showed the band’s remarkable ability to change gears, slow things down and deliver a bonafide power ballad.
At just over an hour, the set erred on the side of brevity. While the band faithfully played Nothing’s Shocking
in its entirety, it only returned to stage for a brief two-song encore. Though the group hardly tours these days, you’d think it could still manage to work up a few more songs for fans that paid the steep ticket price (general admission tickets went for $75).