At last -- the perfect band for Mississippi Nights' muddy, bass-heavy sound system! The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
is the finest two-guitar/one-drum/no-bass NY trash-rock/electric-blues smash-up band on the circuit, and the group's riddim & blues/punk/tent-revival show should exercise the rarely heard middle and high ranges of the 'Nights' PA -- either that or melt the whole thing like a Velveeta single on red beans and rice. It's a win-win situation here, folks.OK, so JSBE's last album, Acme
, may not have had the shake appeal of More Width
or the group's eponymous first album, but this is rock & roll, or a reasonable mutation thereof. The sins of the weak studio album can be absolved through the penance of the live show, and the JSBE is live like a motherfucker. Jon Spencer struts the line between Johnny Thunders and John Lee Hooker, smacking sloppy chords and chicken-scratch rhythms out of his AM-mono-electric guitar with the greasy charm of a hustling street preacher on the make. Judah Bauer puts the sweat in smarm and the sex in wrecks, tangling his fingers in the leads and smearing the three-chord monte into a white-lightning version of the Joker's Wild. JSBE would be just another pretty rock & roll corpse if it didn't have Russell Simins keeping the backbeat locked and loaded. Simins cemented his position as the tightest, funkiest, most deep-down-dirty, straight-to-the-crotch drummer your mama would never approve of years ago, when he regulated time for Cibo Matto on Squirt TV
with nothing more than a kick drum, a hi-hat, a single tom and a bagel. He used every inch of his minimal kit, and he dominated as if he'd been transplanted straight from backing James Brown at the Paris Olympia, circa 1972, uh-huh. Eat a mess of fried chicken, put on your Sunday best and prepare for the end of the year. If JSBE does it up right, you might just recover in time for New Year's Eve.