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Archive for May, 2009

Arc Angels open for Clapton in London

London, England, May 27, 2009

Austin’s own Arc Angels (Doyle Bramhall II, Charlie Sexton, Chris Layton) open for Eric Clapton on his European tour including a two week residency at Royal Albert Hall.

Arc Angels open for Eric Clapton at Royal Albert Hall in London, May 2009, photo by Laura Lea NalleArc Angels open for Eric Clapton at Royal Albert Hall in London, May 2009, photo by Laura Lea Nalle

See all of Laura Lea’s Arc Angels photo galleries, including Live in London, here.


Jane’s Addiction rocks Austin

Austin, Texas, May 17, 2009

Jane's Addiction live at the Frank Erwin Center, Austin Texas, May 2009, photo by Laura Lea Nalle

Jane’s Addiction and NIN are co-headlining the NIN|JA tour that just made a stop on May 12 in Austin, Texas.

Jane’s Addiction, as to be expected, rocked the roof off the Frank Erwin Center.  This original lineup has not played together in seventeen years.  Perry Ferrell, Dave Navarro, Eric Avery, and Stephen Perkins have still got it going on after all these years.  Perry is just so beautifully weird, a completely unique individual who radiates a deep otherworldly feyness that is absolutely intoxicating.  He commands the audience like the masterful performer he is and has the ability to make JA’s old repertoire sound fresh again.  He is crazy in all the right ways, and I loved every minute of watching him milk the crowd while singing and dancing around the stage.

Dave Navarro is a capable guitar player, to be sure, and he really shines on the heavier funky riffs.  He also brings a nice sensitivity to the quieter parts, particularly on the acoustic final encore of Jane Says with Perkins on steel drums.  However, Navarro’s presence on stage, at moments, seems a little too nonchalant; I think he’s at his best when he lets go of the acute self-consciousness of performing on stage and just digs into the music.  Avery’s bass playing is simple and melodic, leaving plenty of room for the others to find their place in the music, and Perkins is the grounding force behind the whole operation.  One of the best parts of the JA show was watching how these four guys interact with each other on stage.  They have a long history together, and it is no secret they have had screaming fights and falling outs with each other in the past, but underneath all of that, there is an undeniable chemistry and joy that radiates when they go on stage and play this material together.  They just recorded a handful of new songs but say they are in no hurry to release a new album.  Whatever is in store for these guys, I for one, will look forward to hearing from them whenever they get together in the future.

Setlist: Three Days, Whores, Ain’t No Right, Pigs in Zen, Then She Did, Mountain Song, 1%, Been Caught Stealing, Ted Just Admit It, Ocean Size.  Encores: Summertime Rolls, Stop!, Jane Says

Jane's Addiction live at the Frank Erwin Center, Austin Texas, May 2009, photo by Laura Lea Nalle

Jane's Addiction live at the Frank Erwin Center, Austin Texas, May 2009, photo by Laura Lea Nalle

TTrent Reznor of NIN live at the Frank Erwin Center, Austin Texas, May 2009, photo by Laura Lea Nalleo be honest, I haven’t really kept up with Trent Reznor over the last decade aside from a couple of production credits and mentions of him in conversations about the evolving artist/fan relationship.  So I didn’t really know what to expect from him on this most recent tour through Austin co-headlining with Jane’s Addiction.

Before I say anything, Reznor himself admitted that the Austin performance was not a good show for him.  In a message on twitter he says, “Not one of our better shows. Despite our efforts we seemed unable to win over the crowd. Texas ends with a whisper.”  And as someone in the audience, I have to concur.  I was not particularly impressed with any of it.  To anything less than a diehard fan, it sounded like an uninventive and rehashed performance of the same old thing, complete with too much fog machine and obnoxious white strobe lights.

While I was not impressed with this particular performance, I am very interested in the ways Reznor has navigated the ever-evolving artist/fan relationship.  Perhaps it has something to do with him getting screwed by a former manager/friend (and winning his case in court) to try to make the artist/fan relationship as immediate as possible, or maybe this is just natural foresight on Reznor’s part by anticipating new ways to reach and interact with his fan base.  This is reflected partly in the lack of restrictions on cameras and audio recorders at all of their shows.  These items are actually encouraged, and there is a place on NIN’s website where fans can upload their images.  Bootleg file sharing appears to also be encouraged.  Reznor is active on social media sites like twitter – as are Dave Navarro, Eric Avery, and a number of others on this tour – and they have each been doing almost daily ticket giveaways exclusively to their followers there.  Twitter is also the mechanism by which they periodically post low quality but exclusive cell phone photos from behind the scenes as things are happening in real time.  Reznor additionally developed an application for iPhone that lets the user play along to thirteen of his songs in a similar fashion to the popular video game “Guitar Hero.”  I think these are all really interesting ways to encourage interaction with and amongst his fans, and it’s clear his fan base is very energized by the immediacy and diversity of mediums in this relationship.  I think artists and their management teams ought to follow Reznor’s lead and increasingly encourage this kind of connection with their fan base if they are not doing so already.

See the full gallery of Jane’s Addiction and NIN photos here.

written and photographed by Laura Lea Nalle, all rights reserved