Live Review: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, The Floors

13 August 2015 | 1:55 pm | Christopher H James

"Non-stop punk'n'roll shenanigans from arguably the world's most resourceful garage band."

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An apt fit for the band to follow, The Floors were tight, catchy and drew a sizeable early crowd (possibly dragging in some stragglers from the freezing cold of the beer garden). Specialising in a form of paranoid, swamp-rock blues, their singer emitted a zoological range of yelps and moans over timeless grooves smashed out by a shaggy-looking rhythm section playing as if their mother had weaned them on Mudhoney rather than milk. "Don't know where that one was going," the singer apologised at the end of a long solo, although he needn't have as their most intense moments came from an extended, cathartic jam. 

An uncharacteristically rowdy crowd by Perth standards knew exactly what to expect from Jon Spencer Blues Explosion — non-stop punk'n'roll shenanigans from arguably the world's most resourceful garage band. Barely pausing for breath, they slammed through approximately 30 songs in 90 minutes at a volume that had numerous earplug wearers feeling utterly unprotected, as lyrics were changed and spare hooks cannibalised and reappropriated. A crafty take on Beastie Boys' She's On It was included and impregnated with enough uncut Blues Explosion stink that it was hard to accept it was a cover. Those who weren't enthralled by what they heard (whoever the hell they were) could instead marvel at Spencer's extraordinary "50 Shades Of Intense" facial expressions while, in spiritual harmony, drummer Russell Simins sported an expression of ecstasy combined with the sort of open-mouthed exhilaration one would normally expect to see on the face of a man falling out of a plane. Spencer knows how to work a crowd, though, as demonstrated when he demanded total participation via a gaze that penetrated all the way to the toilets.

While it was a new album — the impossibly-named Freedom Tower: No Wave Dance Party 2015 — that dominated affair to begin, some of the old classics began to creep in as the psychobilly hoedown of Chicken Dog and the harmonica-spiked frenzy of Dang ceded to the Theremin and cowbell orgy of 2 Kindsa Love, igniting wanton roars from the feral acolytes. As Spencer left the stage, Simins struggled to find his feet while bass-man Judah Bauer hi-fived and shook hands with the front row, which, at a glance, you could tell had experienced near-criminal levels of fun.