The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion (09/12/12)

by juicyfrog

my left ear is paralysed. a soft cotton cushion chokes lively signs of the outside word. i squeeze among toads in a very strange state of mind. i just don’t know whether i’m ok or not.
and i see him jumping over the merchandising table. him again, chasing our eyes to get an impression, a smile, a hurrah, or whatever.

mr. Jon Spencer stands right in front of me and i’m just not responding anymore. or more exactly, i feel like going outside naked and throwing myself into a mountain of snow. yeah, that’s an idea.

if the evening started in smooth mode for the frog, i’m now ready for a new pogo. spending an hour and half with a NYC legend is just as exhilarating as buying a gig ticket for my favourite toad. i’ve actually just received some rock’n’roll slap in the face, as if rock & roll had never existed before.

entering Festsaal Kreuzberg again is like a reminiscence of the past. i feel out of order tonight, insignificant, void.
i’m however slightly amused as The Mentalettes enter the stage. three girls, funny ones, wearing glamouring gold sequined very short shorts (there’s no typo in the ‘short’ repetition). Elsa Edlund, the swedish blond, Chilbi Pippi Llo, the spanish tattooed brunette, and Teresia Elvira, the very berliner, are perfect in their role of warm-up trio. they’re supported by four busy bees sweating in dark polo-neck sweaters, playing drums, guitar, keyboards and bass.


their pure and traditional rockabilly repertoire comprising three wriggling girls singing together is a dynamic and swinging introduction. nevertheless, after of few songs, i get kind of bored and my attention focuses on Chilbi Pippi Llo and her hilarious interpretation. she has a very expressive face with giant opened eyes, that mimic either surprise, chaos, anger, love, catastrophe, well, a face perfectly adapted to each situation and each song. but alas, thirty minutes or so of rockabilly make me impatient. i’m sorry, i’m not a rockabilly frog, but a rock one – i therefore go back to the bar on the last song, get another of my favourite beer and head hastily to the front of the stage as the crowd becomes thicker.

it doesn’t take long before Judah Bauer shows his nose. and his guitar.
i’m a bit surprised to recognize him for i have never ever seen JSBX, either on stage or on video.
but let’s put it simple: i’m not going to forget the very moment when Jon Spencer enters the room.
dressed in a gorgeous skinny and glitter trouser, a dark flower shirt and a very elegant waistcoat, some kind of fever seizes me by surprise. god, he’s incredibly sexy, ok, but you can’t imagine how his sexiness turns into animality as he grasps his guitar and starts playing pure enraged rock’n’roll. he doesn’t try to allure or charm the audience (mostly composed of toads), there’s no stage make-up, there’s no possible comparison with Jack White, who is also a great rock reference. no gentleman’s manners, no polite hello, Jon Spencer’s rock is rough and hot-tempered. wow, it’s just like getting a new haircut with a lawn mower.

anyway, despite i’m not an expert (yet) of JSBX, even if i know pretty well Acme, Orange and Damage, most of the tracks they play sound new to me. well, at least a few songs of Meat & Bones, JSBX’s excellent last album, are pretty familiar indeed.
a damn good rock’n’roll with blues notes, emphasized by the amazing singing of Jon Spencer: half shouting, third talking, third singing. very often you hear him yelling Bluessss Explosion. right, nevermind i don’t know the songs, that’s just so good, go on and sing it again.
this crazy rock concert makes me sweat and dance a lot. and enjoy (a lot) JSBX’s music, wow.

2 Kindsa Love
High Gear
Black Thoughts
Get Your Pants Off
No Reservations
Ice Cream Killer
Black Mold
Bag of Bones
She’s On It – Jack The Ripper
Strange Baby
Soul Typecast
Feeling of Love
Shirt Jac
Bellbottoms (Intro)
Bottle Baby
Tell Me That You Love Me
Boot Cut

Very Rare
Bear Trap
Blues X Man
Fuck Shit Up
Bellbottoms (Original Long Ending)

whereas Russel Simins eventually wears out his drums on Unclear,

Jon Spencer makes the decision to abandon his guitar and kill our hears with his themerin. god, this is really loud, most of the toads and frogs around me plug their ears. i wonder whether my left ear will resist this sound despite my earplugs.
there’s no doubt, the end is close.

no please, not yet. ok, it’s ear-splitting, ok i already flew twice on the stage due to my pogo fellows, but it’s so good, let’s go for it, one more time.
and of course, the excellent Judah Bauer grants us a mischievous look as he seizes his guitar again. Simins’ drums are back in order, and Jon Spencer seems to be reinvigorated, yeahhh, let’s go for a new ride!!

Jon Spencer’s sweat pours once again on our faces, his devilish guitar touches us gently once more, we dance confusedly and wildly, this is pure joyfulness.


so, i see him jumping over the merchandising table. him again.
i hesitate as his eyes meet mines, but i’m just on the blink and can’t do or say anything.
i leave The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion without a regret and enjoy the muted atmosphere around me.
on the way back home, i’m over excited and feel suddenly the need to build a snowman in the snowy night.
for some strange reason, i kindly end up in my bed and start humming a song by Them Crooked Vultures.
my left ear is just stuffed but i don’t care. this is rock’n’roll.