It's been a fair old while since Perry Farrell brought his band of LA alternative rockers to our shores. The band were said to be on hiatus from this January but they have returned to the UK for only a handful of shows; a couple at 02 Academy Brixton and just tonight's show at 02 Manchester Apollo. These, along with a trio of shows at Brooklyn Bowl in LA, are to play their debut studio album 'Nothing Shocking' in full.
It's not sure why we have been chosen for a few shows, as before bands would come over and play a show before heading to a festival, say in this case Reading and Leeds. After Perry Farrell had a throat infection and had to cancel their last appearance, maybe they would be down to play this one, but they are not on the line up. We should feel very lucky, as the band have broken up many a time, recently at the end of this year whilst on tour. Tonight though they look relaxed and to be having a ball.
They are a little late onto the stage, as tribal acapella music fills the hall. People were saying high ticket prices were the reason for poor ticket sales, but the stalls are full and the balcony over half full. Chris Chaney, who has formally played with Alanis Morrisette, Taylor Hawkins and the Coattail Riders and Cher and Celine Dion to name a few, is taking over bass duties. Stephen Perkins and Dave Navarro are on drums and guitar, and Perry has his magical box of musical tricks ready for his tinkering.
The setlist you would know, 'Nothing Shocking' is played in its entirety. 'Ocean Size' and 'Had A Dad' are the first hits, with the slightly crazy lyrics of ''Standing In The shower Thinking' creating a break as they do on the recorded album. Perry comments on how he fell asleep with CNN, well actually our BBC news, and having nightmares about how screwed up the world is today. 'Mountain Song' is a great song and a moshpit evolves. 'Jane Says' is performed at the front of the stage by the foursome on acoustic guitars and bongos, and sounds delicious.
Perry is in a chatty mood with the crowd, speaking of how it does not rain as much in LA but the Hacienda in Manchester was a great place, not so much now it's all apartments, and we should all give a cheer to Martin Hannett, which we did, and to bands like Happy Mondays, Joy Division, and the Buzzcocks.
The band start to play what sounds like '100 Ways' by Perry and Perkins post Jane's Addiction band Porno For Pyros, which is cut drastically short before it can evolve into an actual tune. Perry has a laugh and says "The world went away!" before it turns into a short jazz jam.
There's no encore so after 45 minutes of revisiting the debut album it's straight into some other tracks the bands are famous for, starting with one many will know, the poppy 'Been Caught Stealing'. There are many crowd surfers at this point, including a rather large topless fella. Perry jokes again that there's nothing better than "a big upside down fuzzy bellied big man crowdsurfin'" and strokes the pit security's heads for pulling them all out. Next is one of their best newer songs, the single 'Just Because', with its roaring rock guitars and echoing vocals.
'Three Days' features some female dancers to the right of the stage, with the stage drooped in red light. The lighting has been amazing all night, with beams crossing and covering the crowd in purples and pinks. The last few songs are all hits from their other albums, and their actual debut album was live (aiming to capture their energy), so they play 'Chip Away' from that, and close with the amazing 'Stop' from 'Ritual De Lo Habitual', where the majority of the hits came from and hopefully an album they will look to tour for its 25th anniversary next year hint hint!
Up the Beach
Had a Dad
Ted, Just Admit It...
Standing in the Shower... Thinking
Thank You Boys
Pigs in Zen
Been Caught Stealing