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Sunday, June 14, 2009

Concert Review: Meat Puppets! 2nd of two nights @ Mercury Lounge 6.12.09

Back so soon? Of course you are. Who would miss the fifteenth edition of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert series? Especially when we're back at the Mercury Lounge, to date the best place in the city I've been to for seeing a rock concert. The first opener is different from last night, as tonight we will be hearing a band called “Dynasty Electric” along with Retribution Gospel Choir and the almighty Meat Puppets. Last night I got there early and TK Webb and the Visions went on at 8:30, so for tonight I caught the 8:30 ferry into the city and figure for once in my life I'll be the guy who only shows up for the headliner, like the rest of those people- I mean come on now I've had to go to my actual job before and morning after both these shows-I'm a little tired. So I had planned to miss “Dynasty Electric”.

I roll up to this place at 9:15 and there's the same amount of people in this place as there were last night 2 hours prior. So I go outside and check the little chalk board to see the times. Dynasty Electric at 9:30, then RGC at 10:30 and the Meat Puppets at 11:30. Then as I'm walking back in Cris Kirkwood passes by and pats me on the back and is like “both nights, sweet” and I'm thinking wow this dude remembers me, how cool is that. Well anyway back to things, I get to see this band after all. I look on stage and I see three things-one stand that looks like a keyboard with an antenna on it. Weird. They also had another thing that looked like a keyboard but wasn't. It just made sounds I believe. And last but not least they have a guitar player. He's the only person on stage-equipped with his guitar that is hooked up to his Mac Book Pro. One guy on stage and a bunch of machines AND a computer. I turn to the dude next to me randomly(as I'm known to do) and said “wow a macbook pro? We're in for a long night”. It gained a slight chuckle. Then this totally drunk chick crawls on stage puts her bag behind some equipment and crawls over to a couple of people a few feet from me and says “Ted-the drummer in the Meat Puppets. He's my friend”. When she starts messing with the machines I'm like, looking to see if security is on their way in when I that she was dressed a little too sluttly (sexy) to just be in the crowd. She, being Jennifer DeVeau was the other half, and lead singer of Dynasty Electric( she actually started her career touring the UK as a teenager with her all-girl Beatle-cover band “Girl”). She steps up to that weird looking keyboard antenna thing. It's a freaking THEREMIN. You know what that is? Google it, it's cool-you move your hands near it and it creates like sound effects from the waves or some shit. And it's tricked out with effects pedals and all. The Mac is for the techno sounding beats that they use in there songs. When I said that an older guy said “Nah, it's really just like 80's new wave”. Great, that's like permission for me to enjoy them. It was a really interesting cool sound. Kind of electronica but when the guitar player all of a sudden pulled out a saxophone and started whaling on it the crowd if it wasn't already was won over. And DeVeau was definitely hot. She was all over the stage. She stood on the table that the amps where on if front of me and literally it was wild man. My face to face with a vagina in the tightest pants ever. I heard Ted is the one who got her in on this gig. A freaking Theremin, now there's something I haven't seen live before or even heard of before.  Could have sworn they played Shocking Blue's "Venus" before they went off. Good set.

I go out to smoke a cigarette and I'm standing on the sidewalk and Cris sees me again and walks over and I'm like “That band was pretty cool- no?” and Cris says something to the effect of “Yea they are. She's(referring to a friend of Ted's) is. See the thing is, Ted has no game with the girls-they're both from here so they end up on the bill”. I was almost pissing my pants, you never get the honest answer you know?. I was saying how much I love the venue and he says “man there's something about the city-I'm from the fucking desert man” and I said how I'd never experienced life like, living outside of the 5 boroughs and he's like “Yea like I can't even imagine it. So much goin on all the time. It's like the opposite for me." Someone had mentioned that they saw a picture of him hanging out with the dudes from Ween from this afternoon when the Pups played an afternoon show in Philly before tonights show. He's like "Wait a minute-from like this afternoon? they're on the internet already?  then says "that's crazy man the world went and got itself in a hurry”- and did the funny voice as he continued quoting Brooks from 'Shawshank Redemption'. Then of course some guy gets out of a cab, another fan and starts saying stuff like “man Cris I'm so glad to see that you're all better and stuff. And he also mentioned how he's a lawyer and he was looking into Cris's case when he went to jail and didn't take it or something. Not for nothing, we're out here having fun-does the first thing out of everyone's mouth have to try and remind the guy of a part of his life that's behind him. Funny story though, Cris says “When I was sitting in prison a friend of mine, this girl, had like a shitload of coffee mugs made up that said 'FREE CRIS' on them. She was trying to raise money-I mean, I know your hearts in the right place and everything but I don't exactly think the feds are saying wow look at these great cups, open the gates.” After that the merch clerk, same as last night, very nice guy(name's Dennis, does WAY more than sell tee shirts); comes over with someone and says “Cris this guy is a huge fan, and one of NY's Finest.” Then the laywer dude is like “wow man , you could have been of use a few years ago” and then Cris's eye's widen as he says “Yea you could say that again”. Then Cris's phone rings and he picks it up but doesn't leave the circle like so I say to the dude next to me who just got his CD autographed(and help with getting me another signed ticket stub with his sharpie), I'm like “Can you believe we're standing on the street having discussion with Cris fucking Kirkwood?”and I said it as if I didn't meet him in December which I did, because I didn't want this dude thinking that he wasn't exclusive-he was loving it. The crowd disbands leaving just me and Cris and I didn't want to keep him any longer so I said “ight man, I'm gonna catch you in there-rock on” and he's like “Yea I gotta head in anyway, I have to say hi to Ted's mom” then he surprises me. Cris says as he puts his hand out of a shake “yea man see you inside-it's Jay right?” and I was like “Yea it's Jay like the letter” and then we both headed inside. He knows my name. Great stuff.

Redemption Gospel choir were already on when I walked in, and they were a lot more hard rocking tonight. They didn't do anything differently it was just having heard the songs already I don't have to study them; I can enjoy. And I did. They had changed from the all black suit attire from the night to differing colored suits. Cris had said that they're drummer was going to come on stage and sing on a song with them during their set. I noticed he does sing some light harmony. They did the same sample of songs from last night and headed off stage at 11:15.

The Meat Puppets! Every time I see them about 10 minutes before they come on I start turning to everyone around me saying things like “Wow this is so fucking cool” or “I hope they play Attacked by Monsters”. They hit the stage at 12:01 AM; after midnight, now I feel like I'm at an actual rock concert. The Grateful Dead used to start show's at midnight and play til 8AM, damn do I wish that would be the case tonight. Bands don't do things like that anymore, but in reality they rocked harder then they did the night before. Last night almost seems like a test drive compared to tonight, being they played a similar set of songs with a few exceptions. The drift off solo's during songs were absolutely epic. The version of “Up on the Sun”(I clocked that version at 13 minutes at least) with Alan Sparhawk again coming out to play it with them and they also covered a song that, to be honest was so filled with heavy riffing feedback driven guitars that I have the slightest clue what it was. Eric Pollard, the drummer from RGC sang on Plateau with them, but only did the chorus parts-sort of like singing harmony. When the RGC boys headed off stage I tapped Eric's shoulder and said to him “man, welcome to the greatest day of your life!”. It had to be an experience for them, not only touring but sharing a stage with the brothers Meat. “Aura Borialis” was great, I love that damn song man. They played it last night as well, I'm not sure if I had it down Cris's vocals on “Station” (Curt makes him sing that one) were better sounding then last night, I think they added more monitors in his vocals because the harmonies were different sounding also. And I gotta tell you I can't get that song “Rotten Shame” out of my head, it sounds like a throwback Puppets song when it's on the latest record. Then the fastest, hardest version of Lake of Fire to date-Curt always fools the crowd like-he starts this really sweet melodic couple of chords and you're trying to figure what song its going to be then out of no where it's Lake of Fire. Meat Puppets show's are indescribable so pardon me if begin to lack adjectives after these two crazy nights. They ran off stage after that(with me getting the sole hand shake from Cris on the way off stage (I'm telling you we are total BFF now) and everyone was wondering if they were coming back out-everyone turning to me asking me if they came out for an encore last night and the answer was no they didn't-but last night they played Backwater and now they're off stage without playing it. Don't worry, here they come after about 10 minutes get up on stage and play “Backwater” like a millisecond slower version. The rhythm section was slower pace but Curt was going full force. Absolutely just played the shit out of that Strat to end they officially went off stage at 1:35AM. Unbelievable, the Meat Puppets once again fail to disappoint.

What a show-what a two night Meat-fest. That was really cool to do that, the same band back to back nights, but it worked out to be really cool and something I will definitely do again. Next up on the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series calender is.... well, I don't currently have tickets but I would love to know if anyone has any ideas. E-Mail me if anything, thanks everyone who read-it shouldn't be long before something else pops up. Late!

-THIS IS A VIDEO OF THE MEAT PUPPETS DOING BACKWATER FROM THE THURSDAY NIGHT SHOW. I PERSONALLY RECORDED THIS ON MY DIGITAL CAMERA-I DIDN'T REALIZE IT HAD VIDEO. I'M A DIRECTER TOO NOW!!
video

In the following weeks, a blog comment of mine on the Meat Puppets MySpace blOg was replied to, by the Pups, it reads:

"Ladies and Gentlemen,

Jay Pork was on it June 11-12. He skipped the Yanks-Mets series, trekked off of Staten Island, caught back to back killer sets at the Mercury Lounge.

Get this Jay, we're headed back to NYC, Nov 25th, this time, at the Bowery."

That blog titled "Summerfest Notes" can be viewed at http://blogs.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=blog.view&friendId=7730952&blogId=496993119

>>>>>>>The Germs JULY 2nd, LATE ADDITION TO THE BLOG SERIS

Friday, June 12, 2009

Meat Puppets!! @ Mercury Lounge- Concert Review 06/11/09



I'm telling you, it'll never get old I'd like to welcome all of you to the fourteenth installment of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series. Tonight brings us to the Mercury Lounge, 217 E Houston st in NYC. The bands: Who else? THE MEAT PUPPETS!!!! The opening acts for tonight are “Retribution Gospel Choir” and “TK Webb and the Visions”. Doors are due to open at 7:30, just about the time I show up.

The Mercury Lounge-this one is new to me. I've never attended a show there so I was eager to see how many people this place holds. Remember the last show I was at I was with about 15,000 other people. So I pass by this bar, and notice someone that looks like Cris Kirkwood. Wow, it is Cris Kirkwood; and that's not a bar that's the venue. Cris was talking to like 3 fans and I already had his autograph and met him at the Williamsburg show so I' decided not to interfere and be 'that' guy. “Hey remember me!”-Definitely wasn't going to make a fool out of myself there. Anyway back to this cool venue. The place holds 250 people(I didn't count I got it from the website). I swear it looked like, for lack of a better term, the size of your living room like doubled. The ceiling is like not much over 10-12 feet high(don't quote me on these exact measurements please) and the stage was about 3 feet off the ground. The stage, has no exit or entrance to it. The way to get up there to climb up(step up) or there's like 3 steps on the far right side(left if you're on stage. It was like a bar with a stage with a rocking band coming on at 10:30. There was almost no one in there for the openers, and the place was still almost full. You could tell right there it was going to be a great night-the couple of people I spoke to felt the same. The merch table was right at the front door and me and someone else were scouting it out waiting to see what they'd have. The guy comes and he's got a few XXL's left with another box coming for tomorrow night's show (good news then I can get another one)and CD's. I get a shirt and the new album, which I had since it came out-I figured I'd give money to my artist as oppose to no body. So we get the CD's and the clerk tells us to open up the plastic because there's some cool artwork in there, which there was along with lyrics and linear notes all that cool album stuff that has gone away from the mainstream world. Then the guy says “You know I can get these signed for you” takes our names down and holds on to the albums (and our stuff as if it was coat check. He didn't have to do that-nice guy) til after the show. Awesome. Getting autographed CD's for supporting my artists. I wasn't going to buy the album in the store-I got it autographed for 12 bucks. Can you beat it? Maybe we should get to the show

At like 8:40 “TK Webb & The Visions” hit the stage. They had a keyboard next to the second guitarist-he was alternating at times. Excuse me while I roll my eyes. I would have given them more respect had I know they hail from Brooklyn, but they just didn't really do it for me. Kind of sound like they grew up worshiping Dinosaur Jr(I think the second guitarist/keyboard player was wearing a Dino “Green Mind” tee shirt). Not that it would be a bad thing but there was this sort of folk fused into almost psychedelic rock. Almost; I mean they weren't terrible-the lead singer/guitarist actually cracked a few jokes in between songs when it was absolute silence. He says something to the effect of “none of you know each other? Talk to each other or something” while they're tuning for the next song he says to the dude standing next to me who I was hanging with most of the night who turned around for a split second he goes “no man-please don't go”. Funny stuff. I'm almost certain that they have a Myspace page you can check out, they were bearable. They went off at 9:15 promptly.

So straddling the lines of 9:40, out to the stage comes Retribution Gospel Choir hailing from Duluth, Minnesota(that's what it says on their Myspace page). Get it? “I knew a lady who came drum Duluth-bit by a dog with a rabbit tooth”? That's kind of a cool coincidence. As for the music they were much louder then the TK, though they only had a tree man band. Great guitarist-in a technical sense. He held his own with the effects pedals. They were wearing black slacks, black button downs and black ties; the drummer had a white tie. Total opposite look then the band previous. Like I said they were louder and a little heavier but the music itself didn't differ much. These bands are all trying to do some sort of sub genre of psychedelic rock. Some of there riffs had me in head nod mode; they kind of rocked. We'll see more of there lead singer/guitarist during the next set.


The main event!! THE MEAT PUPPETS!!!!! They hit the stage a little after 10:30(Curt in pajama pants-hey, gotta be comfortable right? and the blast off begins. They opened with their title track from the new album “Sewn Together” which was a blessing to hear. Finally a band that I love came out with a brand new great album and I'm seeing them on the supporting tour. I had said before the set that I hoped they played “Touchdown King” and they got into that 2nd. I was loving life a this time. When you love songs coming out of speakers in your car, headphones etc. it's a whole different experience. Next was another song off the new record-one of my favorites-'Blanket of Weeds”. And do I even need to mention how almost every song is dragged out a few


extra minutes with amazing solo's that at times get so far away from the song that you think it's the next song and then Curt winds it back into the song. He sews it together I guess (cheesy, but couldn't avoid it). After they got into “The Monkey and the snake” and a great version
(take it, this is my third time seeing them) “Commin' Down” it was time for some stuff off their second record. “Oh me” followed by “Plateau” had myself and the whole crowd going nuts-including Curt, who was unusually in a good mood. He was having fun, they were jamming. Cris is over there in his own little world jumping around in total rock out fashion. He's hilarious. Suddenly a drumstick comes flying into the hands of the dude who has now become my buddy throughout this night. Ted must have mishandled it but he didn't miss a beat there were spares to his side. Lets go “Up on the sun”. Such a great song, this is the song where the dude from Retribution Gospel Choir comes out mid song to add and extra layer of guitar-totally cool. Like I said, that dude was really technically sound, and he was Up on the sun with us(only did the last half of that song and went away). I mention it every time I get back from a Meat Puppets show-its like a trip, an experience, a mind altering substance. Sometimes we blast off to outer space and tonight leaving the venue I was still up on the sun. “Rotten Shame”, another one off the new record and then one of my favorites “Station” in which before they started Curt says


“Cris you're singing on this one” and Cris proceeded to leas vocals on that-which was cool. I have some close up shots of Curt going nuts on his Strat that I'll post here soon. End the night rock star style with the best of the bunch I order “Look at the rain” (the place was pandemonium at this point) the everyone's favorite “Lake of Fire” for what felt like 20 minutes and closed down the first of two nights with “Backwater”. After the song Curt said goodnight and dropped his guitar down by the amp leaving a never ending trail of feedback through the place as the light came on and everyone exited.

So I got my autographed copy of Sewn Together for $12! And even more important, what an amazing show. And what's even better then that is that I'll be back at the same place tomorrow with the same band! Only difference is that the 8:30 band is not TK and etc. Alright glad I could try and bring this experience to you, and thanks for reading and of course you know if there is a good show in my area you want reviewed send me there-e-mail me @ JaePorks@hotmail.com . Late

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Jane's Addiction and Nine Inch Nails @ PNC Bank Arts center June 6th!




So here we are are for the thirteenth installment of the Jay Porks Never Ending Concert Series. We had a little hiccup on my way to the 'Cake' show that lets just say left me missing the show and plus a desk appearance ticket. Anyway, this one is special. Special because we kicked out the jams on the 2nd annual Jay Porks SUMMER Concert Series, and what a place to begin. PNC Bank Arts Center in Homdel, NJ-what a venue. I love this place. The whole atmosphere, it's a great place to see a concert. It plays intimate for it's 17,500 people capacity. The bands performing tonight: Nine Inch Nails and Jane's Addiction. Street Sweeper Social club(Tom Morello's like 73rd side project) opened, but the group I was with-we were all in the parking lot enjoying cold beers and friendly conversation with what looked to be the rest of the crowd. When you buy tickets to show at PNC first thing you think of is “Will we be allowed to tailgate in the parking lot?” and when we showed up and were directed to park on a lawn in Lot 9- I noticed tons of red cups. Beer is good to go.

While hanging out (drinking a Shaffer-now that is some horrible beer right there) we encounter a group of some friends and there we are in full posse mode. Got to love posse mode; I mean, I'm used to being by myself and latching on to people for small fragments of time during a night, but now I'm surrounded with people who actually AREN'T trying to get the hell away from the weird kid taking notes.


We eventually make our way from Lot 9 up to the actual parking lot. See, we're actually parked on grass on the side of the highway seemingly. So we get to the other half of our posse and the good news is they're waiting on a cooler full of beer being rolled up the lot from another car. Hello Heineken Light, thanks for showing up. While we're standing around drinking beers, smoking pot(Well, at least I was smoking pot) something happens. Hard to describe, but have you ever seen word of mouth traveling through a crowd of people? Like, thousands of us in the parking lot, and word from the row ahead of us was that Nine Inch Nails was going on at 8:15pm as oppose to the slightly before 10pm slot where the headliner would be. So all of a sudden, a pregame adjustment moves this to a Jane's Addiction show. Which would lead you to believe that people would start heading in. But when that Nine Inch Nails going on at 8:15 news broke-first instinct was “alright, plenty of time to have another beer” as oppose to “lets hurry in to see NIN” and as I looked around the same sentiment seemed to be the common denominator in everybody. A lot of people psyched for Jane's Addiction- I was excited. It was going to be complete ruckus in there. Was suppose to be anyway.

I was walking up the steps as I heard the sounds of Trent Reznor and his machinery already playing. So I guessed we missed Street Sweeper Social Club. No but seriously I was surprised that Reznor had a band with him, but he did. And he had a guitar hanging off him, but I didn't see him play it much. There were two stands set up in front of him that appeared to be keyboards but were actually just soundboards. I swear the dude was rocking out sounding like an 1800's assembly line in a hollow factory. So I'm waiting for them to play like the three or four songs I actually like by Nine Inch Nails and I look around and everyone else is sort of doing the same. People are more hanging out, running errands at this time. During NIN's set is when I bought my Jane's Addiction tee shirt for $35 (yea we're back to big business rock and roll for this show) and a $9 Coor Light. I paid nine dollars for beer that tastes like they poured water in it. You noticing that Nine Inch Nails really isn't gaining much of my attention. Play the songs I know already. The crowd was pitiful, can we get some life in here? Or out here I should say. It took until 9:30 for them to play “The hand that feeds” and then the last song they got into was “Hurt”, which was a really like, low-boring version of it. Come on man you have like 15 thousand deep can you do me a favor and put on a better set then that next time? And it was 9:44 so that was their last song of the evening. So lets get this straight: Nine Inch Nails did not play “Closer”, they're best song to date. How do you not play that? That's like if the Meat Puppets didn't play “Lake of Fire” at a show. Are you kidding me? The crowd (the posse I'm in included) got into those last two songs but overall I don't know if I was more disappointed with the lackadaisical crowd or lackadaisical set by Trent Reznor and his machines. I had previously heard various reports that he has crazy light schemes and just puts on a great show. I just didn't see any of that tonight.


At 10:02 we're talking bout heading to the bathroom when all of a sudden Jane's Addiction hits the stage-and that's when we (Pam, Renee and I) dart towards the front of the lawn and rock out for about half the set over there. I need to state one thing right now. Dave Navarro can play that guitar a little bit. Wow man, every single song my rocking out was interrupted by raw, loud, free flowing , absolute genius solos. Seriously it was like excuse me while I kiss the sky-I underestimated his skills. It was amazing how I didn't know he was that good, I've heard the records. I guess just seeing the quick, clean chord changes on the jumbo tron
(I don't think they actually call it jumbo tron I think its just a big screen) made me realize his ability. The lit cigarette placed between the nobs on the headstock-like a freaking rock star. He is a freaking rock star. Too bad he didn't bring any porn stars with him. He's probably as good as Slash-well, maybe not but he's damn well close

Perry Farrell's stage presence is amazing. He is exactly what Scott Wieland tries to be. Only difference is: Perry keeps it together. Was he on a lot of heroin tonight? Most likely. Did he even falter at any point during the night? Absolutely Not. He did his whole schtick, air guitar next to Navarro, jumping on speakers the whole thing. Wearing a tie without a shirt on-just classic stuff. Sure Farrell is older, but hasn't lost a step.He's been criticized for being one of those guys who thinks he invented music. I got to tell you they invented something tonight. That shit was rocking. You would think Nine Inch Nails would have been a lot louder and harder then Jane's Addiction but it was the total opposite. As we're rocking out having a ball, it's noticed that the audience, other then a few head nods in unison wasn't really into it as much as we would have expected. I though everyone would be going nuts like me-jumping around screaming lyrics having fun. All I see is a sea of macho Jersey boys raising lighters waiting for Phish to come to town, give me a break. I'm in utter disbelief of the stagnancy of these people. We're at a rock concert for crying out loud.


ducked off stage at about 11 before coming out to encore and all that's going through my head is “I will riot if you don't play “Jane Says”. Well, finally the people that were still there got into it when they played “Stop” followed by, what else; “Jane Says”. It was freaking awesome. I can;t tell you how much fun I had. Great show. I can't believe Jane's Addiction ended up closing down the house. What a charming turn of events. The venue (besides the people and the prices) was great- let me have my camera in there and all that didn't bother anyone bout smoking pot-good friends. Good times. Good way to kick off the summer. I need to get out to PNC again this summer. I should add another picture or two in comming days-I'm having trouble with the screen capture as of this moment

Next up for us is the Meat Puppets June 11th AND 12th @ the Mercury Lounge somewhere in the city. And the answer is yes, I will be writing reviews for BOTH of the shows, the thursday and the friday. It' going to be insane. If anyone hears of anything you think I need to be up on then you need to E-mail me at jaeporks@hotmail.com- Thanks for taking a few minutes with the Porkster, hope you didn't feel it was a waste of those minutes. See you June 11th!!!