Thomas Mars, vocalist for French alternative rock band Phoenix, was a man of few words in-between songs at their Coachella headlining warm up gig at Freeborn Hall at U.C. Davis last night, but the show was extremely interactive. By the second song of their approximately hour and a half set, he was already at the edge of the stage, leaning into the audience. By the time the high energy show came to an end, he’d sung one song on the front rail of the all standing/GA venue, made his way deep into the crowd sometime thereafter, and eventually crowd surfed atop the sold out capacity crowd. It was among their first live shows in several years, and they played a lot of material from their highly anticipated forthcoming fifth studio album, Bankrupt!, due April 22nd.
“Most times I try to think about how blessed my life is, and what a great time I’m gonna have in the future”… An optimistic and heartfelt sentiment shared by Jane’s Addiction front man Perry Farrell, somewhere in the middle of an amazing concert last night. Jane’s Addiction pretty much figuratively kicked the door open from the 80s and into the 90s with their alternative music, genre defining single, “Stop!”, off their 1990 album Ritual de lo habitual. A truly pioneering band with a unique post-punk/post-goth (and at times hard) rock sound; if “Stop!” kicked the door in, “Been Caught Stealing” off the same album hammered a wedge in that door for the next generation of music that followed. At the Mondavi Center in Davis last night, some 22 or so years later, “Stop!” closed out one of the best shows I’ve been to all year. A fantastic celebration of amazing music by an awesome band, who, collectively and with individual efforts outside of their group, have had a tremendous and ongoing influence on pop culture in challenging ideas and preconceived notions. Maybe it is just in their nature, but they continue breaking new ground and opening doors well into their careers, and never lost their grasp on how to put on a great rock concert and connect with their fans.