The band's picture on the flyer turned me off: I smelled Stone Temple Pilots. The dead-on angle of the lead singer whispered 'Scott Wyland' which in my world is a term for “asshole.” Besides the face, the vest too bespoke of one of the worst lead singers in American fool's gold history. Oddly, both the fellows to the right of him also struck more than a sliver of a STP/Scott-Arseland chord. Wow--three STP clones in one band. Memo to me: avoid. Then a couple of dudes of whom I have musical respect expressed enthusiasm for the flyer-ed band's upcoming Friday night gig at Woodlands Backyard. On occasion I listen to people. So I went. Verdict: unfuckingbelievable! The Jim Jones Revue, from England, last weekend, was the single best rock'n'roll show I've seen in recent or even distant memory. I was naturally high for three days. To paraphrase the socialist douche bag/rock critic Jon Landau who taught Bruce Springsteen how to read by tearing his Marvel comics out of his hands and shoving “Das Kapital” down his blowhard north Jersey throat: I have seen the past, the present and the future of rock'n'roll--and it is monsoon-like sweaty, Betty. And redemptive. As in soul power. As in gospel fervor, hotter than the ninth circle of hell. I shall give the JJR this motto: fuck the devil...but do give him the microphone in the meantime! Imagine Little Richard high-strung super vocals with a brace of hard-edged working class lads pounding out--and I mean pounding--a wild-feathered headdress of glam-rock, punk-rock, pub-rock, cock-rock, garage-rock with southern American hard shell Baptist lynch mob fervor. At--are you ready for this? I wasn't--MC5 white-punks-on-dope Detroit maniac energy levels. Mayhem soul redemption--with a hint of the Sex Pistols thrown in. What the fuck more could a winter-bound town want? Singer Jones soon looked like a sweaty-faced southern diplomat, highly anxious over either having got his hand caught in the public cookie jar or a preacher who's just about to lead his flock over the edge. A sense of death-or-glory urgency times effort output equaling the storming of the Bastille and you get an idea of how intense and yet human the JJR's music was. British white-boy rock'n'roll with a black American soul-salvation mission burning from the inside out. Bravado, baby. We're talking British world-conquering bravado. Beneath their fastidious musical imperialism the blood of these English cats carries more humanity than any civilized culture on the face of the earth. In two or three or four songs, I trusted The Jim Jones Revue with my very soul. They gave it back to me cleaned, pressed and sorted. Jones didn't walk on water, he worked the crowd. He leaned into it, tossed ampules of sweat into the front rows of rock'n'roll-starved witnesses. He jumped back. He howled as he got in sync with their larger-than-life drummer with the spare kit, a guy who looked like he was with Nelson at Trafalgar. The British have been tough for centuries and musically they kick the asses of our young moderns. As I grooved to Jones's occasional Jaggerisms, I also marveled how he wasn't faking the soul fervor, bouncing into the audience and anointing them with his precious bodily fluids and loss of essence. It was real I've seen Garth Brooks do that. Not the same thing. "Burning Your House Down" showed the crowd the star-behind-the-star-front-man: the crazed piano player who slammed the black'n'white keys like Jerry Lee Lewis on “Great Balls of Fire” which by now you must truly understand this band's fabulous undercurrent of fire-and-brimstone religiosity, Jerry Lee being the devilish black sheep of a family clan that spawned Jimmy Swaggart, the king of Dixie's televangelist hand-chosen by the Son-O'-God Himself to sheer the sheep of their disposable income. I positioned myself the entire show in front of the lunatic pianist, he being turned facing the side of the stage. It took me a minute to realize--he had no stool. Then why was the piano so low? Because he stood with his legs nearly as wide apart as he was tall, so technically he was about the size of your average midget. Dramatic, very. As he beat the living shit it out of his electric keyboard, he rolled his huge beef-of-a-cow's-tongue outside his mouth, much like a genuinely spastic young man I know. The fellow can't speak four words without his huge tongue shooting out of his mouth like a demented giant frog with Tourette's Syndrome of the tongue. I was fascinated. You cannot imagine how important the sound of his piano was to the JJR's punk/gospel hysteria. But if you think about it, Jerry Lee Lewis could have easily fit in with the Sex Pistols. I'm sure he wouldn't have been cowed by those boys. Too bad he was kicked out of England for legally banging his 13-year-old cousin, Myra. Those British, so fussy. “Killin' Spree” had the band attacking the tune like a five-man intramural knock-out game between the Sharks and the Jets with the mad lads of London stompin' 'em in the dust. Again, I haven't seen a quintet of able gorillas like these cats jumping around the stage, pouring furious energy individually yet sounding as focused as our glorious U.S. Navy's Blue Angels in a coon's age or two. Remarkable. The Jim Jones Revue in flight Friday night was so exciting I kind of understood why some of the old rock'n'roll goats in attendance would just stand there, mesmerized by the white-hot, soul-deep onslaught of British punk soul music. But hey, I was smiling, I was moving, I was workin' up a sweat. Why couldn't they? Yet the old fuckers were feelin' it, you could tell. Their temples might be cobwebbed but their inner eternities were 18 again. Cool. And on and on it went. The band got hotter, the music intenser, the feeling--well, here I go again--made one melt into a new and better state of consciousness. People, you got to understand: our African-American brothers and sisters made music that had to resuscitate their humanity after spending the previous six days of the week as a down-by-law, culturally ruptured people. Therefore the mission of the music was soul salvation. And our black geniuses created a form of music that, by its very nature, saved lives spiritually if not physically. And the goddam British learned how to steal it, make it theirs and save their own souls and those within earshot who loosened their air-tight sphincters enough to take the wordless message of the music in. Hey, through your ears, your heart or up your ass. Jim Jones Revue will get to you. And you'll be a better person. Huh. What a fuckin' night.

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