It has been less than a year since the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion obliterated the Crescent Ballroom with their raucous road show, blasting an eager crowd with its high-energy hybrid of punk-ass blues, noise, soul, garage, and straight ahead punch-you-in-the-face rock ’n’ roll. If you were there, you'll be back. If you missed it, do yourself a favor and don't make that mistake again. To sweeten the deal, San Tan Brewing Company has jumped on board as a sponsor, dropping the ticket price down to $5 each.
The band's new album, Freedom Tower, is proof positive that a band doesn't have to get stale after spending a couple decades together. The recording, a homage to those glorious five boroughs of New York City, definitely reflects the grit and energy of a pre-’90s town. It encompasses the gritty excitement of those early days of punk and hip-hop and does so in a clean and concise way, further highlighting the band's ability to keep it fresh. Nothing says garage-punk ass-shaking dance party like "Betty vs the NYPD." The unforgettable, fast, and catchy tune could get a corpse to kick up its heels. Like a few of the tracks on Freedom Tower, it clocks in at under two minutes long, leaving you both panting and wanting more. "Bellevue Baby" is an example of the album being peppered with a little Stones-y sensibility. There's a real Beastie Boys vibe that you get throughout, too. The influences always come in just enough of a dose to feel like a celebration or tribute.
Frontman Spencer acknowledges the shift.
"It is a very different record than [the band's 2012 album] Meat and Bone, which was more blown out and edgy. This one's a more precise dance party record" he says. "We recorded this one at the Daptone House of Soul in Bushwick [neighborhood of New York City], and that definitely had a big influence in the sound." He adds, "We are really proud of it and think it came out great."
Jon also promises to deliver excitement this Friday night.
"It's certainly a very different live experience than before; a new look and feel," he says.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to Phoenix New Times's mission. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Phoenix's stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
He also tells us that they will be playing most, if not all, of the songs from Freedom Tower but also notes that "we are dusting off some songs we haven't played in many, many years."
The energetic band might have a little spring in their step after being visited by the pie fairy, who in this case is Dana Stern, one of the owners, and the primary baker, of Bragg's Factory Diner. Stern, who doubles as guitarist and vocalist of local band JJCnV, is a big fan. Last year when the band was in town she created a Bluesberry Explosion pie to celebrate the occasion. The band got word and though they couldn't make it by the diner, they called her and she took them down some desserts. This time, the fellas got their orders in, right down to some gluten-free action.
Amped on sugar or not, it's gonna be a blistering affair so get down there and like the band says on new track "Funeral," - let the hammer drop.
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is scheduled to perform Friday, May 22, at Crescent Ballroom.