“That’s the sweat… of the Blues Explosion!” Jon Spencer reclaimed his rock & roll throne of New York City last night. With a career spanning two decades of their own hybrid form of blues and grimy rock, Blues Explosion is definitely still a force to be reckoned with. The trio of Spencer, Judah Bauer, and Russell Simins performed at the hipster magnet Rothko for a private showcase primarily for industry-types and devoted fans. Obviously a warm up gig for their upcoming European and North American tour to support the new album Damage, Blues Explosion still took the stage with their guns blazing.
As the swarming mass slowly filed into the small venue, it became obvious that this show would be a real treat. Such an intimate show from Blues Explosion is something I have never personally experienced, and it made for a memorable evening. Few frontmen have the Elvis-like charisma, vocal power, and dance moves to captivate an audience for any length of time. Spencer has all of that, and then some. The dueling guitar work between Spencer and Bauer was nothing short of amazing, adding layers of noise to “Mars Arizona” and the single “Burn It Off.” Simins’ drum skills have never been tighter, even accurately recreating the chaotic drum & bass conclusion of the title track “Damage.”
[photos by Charles Nickles]
Although a little light on older material, it is nearly impossible to leave a Spencer powered show unsatisfied. A couple of crowd favorites were on the playlist including “Sweat” and “2 Kindsa Love.” There is no doubt that the highlight of the evening was the new song “Fed Up And Low Down.” During its full-throttle kick your ass chorus, even the industry stiffs and too cool for school hipsters finally showed some signs of life. This devoted Blues Explosion fan left the show satisfied, sweaty, and in dire need of a shower. Yes, the Blues is still number one.