Spencer, Jon Blues Explosion : London Oxford Street 100 Club

Don't bet against another five years of extemporalised blues, if not much more...

To all intents and purposes [a]Jon Spencer Blues Explosion[/a] and his hot-wired juggernaut rock’n’roll trio should be gone by now. After eleven years on the boards, in the pits, and at the extremes of expression, it’s often time to check for a pulse and other signs of life. But this has never been an ordinary Manhattan scuzz rocker. His first noticed band, Pussy Galore, were notorious to put it mildly, capable of such feats as covering an Einsturzende Neubauten song with guitars – before they themselves got the idea – and covering [a]Rolling Stones[/a]’ ‘Exile On Main Street’ in its entirety. That volatile entity of a group disintegrated into Royal Trux and The Blues Explosion, and he now continues the process of disintegration further, even as this trio supposedly evolves.

Put more simply, think of rock’n’roll as a great huge mass, and imagine [a]Jon Spencer Blues Explosion[/a] chafing away at it with an axe to get to its core essence. [a]Jon Spencer Blues Explosion[/a] are still relevant because they’ve stuck to their theoretical guns till time caught up. Which is to realize how much soul and blues inform true rock’n’roll and then add soupcons of emotion and attitude and heavy doses of noise.

And this here secret gig of sorts is an opportunity to get back to the kind of claustrophobic environments that birthed the music in the first place. Yet, the only real informality here comes at the point [a]Jon Spencer Blues Explosion[/a] leaves Judah Bauer and Russell Simmins to jam while he goes to the back of the club. Otherwise, the calculated looseness is all in the rock sludge and effluent, that pours from the speakers, damn whoever’s in the way.

Which means that [a]Jon Spencer Blues Explosion[/a] can’t easily be reduced to constituent parts of drums, bass sand guitar/voice. Even when [a]Jon Spencer Blues Explosion[/a] imitates a demented James Brown-style soul preacher, everything holds. And long-standing criticisms that the trio basically play variations on one non-tune are blasted away by new single ‘She Said’, complete with melodic chorus and atypical harmonies. Don’t bet against another five years of extemporalised blues, if not much more.

Dele Fadele