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LIVE: Jane’s Addiction – Roundhouse, London, 29/05/2024

The first time that this author saw Jane’s Addiction was in 2003 at Brixton Academy, on the Strays tour. It was Halloween night and the band had really gone all out – or so I thought. As I walked in, there was a girl in a cage playing the violin in her underwear. Next to the merch stand, meanwhile, were similarly sparsely-attired men and women wearing police helmets and riot shields, glaring at customers as they walked up to the counter.

I went to the bar and made a comment to the bloke next to me about having picked a good night to come see this band. He looked puzzled. I explained. He laughed. “This is Jane’s Addiction, mate. Every show is like this.”


Even back then, of course, getting to see the band live at all, albeit minus bassist Eric Avery, had seemed like something of an unexpected treat. Their differing personalities and explosive temperaments may well have been part of what made them so brilliant, but it also made them a combustible combination, and when they split up for the first time in 1991, it was hard to imagine them ever getting back together.

Get back together they did, though, and even more remarkably, here they are in 2024 containing all four of the classic lineup for the first time since 2010, with Avery having returned to the fold for the second time in 2022, and Dave Navarro returning for this tour after a time away suffering from long COVID.

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Support tonight comes from Humanist, featuring James Cox of Crows on vocals.

The excitement in the room before the show is palpable, and quite rightly so. After all, these four changed the face of music history, the first true alternative rock band to break through into the mainstream, blazing a trail that Nirvana et al so famously followed after them. Their blend of metal, funk and psych was revolutionary, and arguably remains unsurpassed.

Opening with the slow-burning ‘Kettle Whistle’ gives singer Perry Farrell the chance to wander the stage, metaphorically introducing himself to the audience, totally charming, like a waiter to his diners. Good evening madam, are you having a nice day, a glass of wine maybe while you read the menu? Even at the ripe old age of 65, the man oozes charisma like nobody else.

It is quickly apparent that tonight is all about the music – and not just because of the absence of scantily-clad distractions on the stage. Tonight’s set is mostly a collection of songs from the band’s legendary first two studio albums, 1988’s Nothing’s Shocking and 1990’s Ritual de lo Habitual, and it’s astonishing how fresh it all still sounds. ‘Ain’t No Right’ stands tall as a funky ode to a life of expression and experimentation, Stephen Perkins’ tribal drumming underpins the dramatic and edgy ‘Ted, Just Admit It…’, and the irresistable, groovy riffs of ‘Been Caught Stealing’ get the crowd moving enthusiastically.

In between, we are treated to a couple of unreleased songs; swirling ballad ‘True Love’, and the brand new ‘Imminent Redemption’, which the band played live for the first time last week. The latter is particularly impressive, a full-on stomping rocker right out of the top drawer. If this is the first sign of a new album on the horizon, then bring it on.

The crowd are here for the classics though, of course, and they are not diappointed. ‘Mountain Song‘ and ‘Stop!’ are as iconic as ever, but the undoubted highlight of the night is the rousing ‘Ocean Size’. Navarro’s virtuoso guitar over Avery’s sumptuous bassline – this is musical craftsmanship that is right up there with anyone in history.

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Seeing Jane’s Addiction live again is really a timely reminder of just how staggeringly good they are as individual musicians. Avery’s presence really brings an extra edge to the show, Farrell is an emotive and charismatic frontman, even if some of his between-song philosophy is a little inane tonight, Perkins is a phenomenally powerful drummer, and Navarro is objectively one of the greatest guitarists of all time. Yet the greatness of this band still lies fundamentally in the interplay between them, a melting pot of styles and sounds that, when put together, form something quite magical.

As if all our wishes hadn’t already been answered, they close with the epic ‘Three Days’, a ten minute plus epic that is almost a concert of its own, such is the journey that this song takes you on. There could not have been a more perfect ending.

One of the greatest rock bands in history. No question.

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God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.