Jane’s Addiction brought Hollywood to downtown Los Angeles on Thursday night, 20 years late. Or maybe just in time.
The fearsome L.A. foursome, in their original lineup, played a muscular 10-song set that reminded you of when some other guy named Bush was president (and before). And they played it to a crowd of 157 at La Cita — the Hill Street bar that until a little more than two years ago was a neighborhood watering hole and dance hall with a largely Mexican clientele.
I heard no ranchero music on this night. The occasion was a party; the DJ was celebrity artist Shepard Fairey (the Boston Globe was in town to do a piece on him); and the overtones were faintly political — even if Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell did confuse how far away the election was when he gave his get-out-the-vote spiel. And the band’s sweat-drenched admirers soaked it up. “A Top 10 moment,” one told me unblinkingly. Added a music executive who moshed in the wings near the likes of Karen O, Nick Zimmer, Adrian Grenier, Tom Morello and Taylor Hawkins: “I’ve loved that band since I was in diapers.”
volume from the temporary stage erected at the back of the main room was not oppressive, and the mix was perfect. Virtually start to finish, the quartet played a set worthy of their rock-star stature, as well as their fans’ undying devotion.
With the guest list incredibly tight (more on that later), Barton Saunders took no chances. The 37-year-old from Toronto, who spent $410 on a plane ticket to L.A. after reading about the show on a local blog, arrived at La Cita on Wednesday, slept on the sidewalk outside the bar and hung out at the bar all day Thursday to ensure he was there for the set. “A defining moment,” he called it.
OK. It might have been defining for the venue, too. I arrived around 7, about the same time the fire marshals did. They had concerns about all the juice coming into La Cita (an outside generator was used), and the myriad cables and lighting gear that the band’s production crew spent all day assembling. After a last-minute scramble to solve those problems (including moving the stage a couple of feet, no easy feat), officials turned their attention to the capacity, which they capped at 157 — the legal limit for La Cita’s main room. Many on the VIP and industry lists did not get in.
Two of the bar’s owners, Carl Lofgren and Dave Neupert [that's them, holding the set list above], embraced afterward. “I can’t believe this happened,” Lofgren said. Neither could a lot of others.
More photos from the night:
The temporary stage, likely the smallest one Jane’s Addiction has played on in quite some time.
LAFD: They weren’t looking for a setlist.
Sorry for the poor photo quality; the wristbands were embossed with “J.A.,” the date and the venue.
Farrell seemed especially exuberant the whole evening.
Dude can shred.