Jack FM brings a classic line up to a classic venue in OC

JACK FM’s 11th Show at Irvine Meadows Amphitheater featuring Jane’s Addiction, The Cult, Garbage, House of Pain & Everlast, and Violent Femmes. September 23, 2016.

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Talk about one final blow out at Irvine Meadows for this longtime attendee of that venue, this show was it! Going into the 2016 season for this venue and being that it is to be the last year that it will be open as they are tearing it out and putting in more condos, which is a complete and total travesty in my opinion as Irvine Meadows has been an institution in Orange County, California since the early 80’s. Many, many legendary shows have happened there over the years. Before they were banned after 1989 The Grateful Dead used to frequent the venue, every year since 1991 LA’s famous radio station KROQ has hosted it’s annual ‘Weenie Roast’ Festival at the Meadows, not to mention in 1991 the very first Lollapalooza was hosted there, of which I was at the inaugural events of both festivals.

One of the best parts of Irvine Meadows IMO is that they have a perfect venue and set up for a one day festival such as Weenie Roast and original Lollapalooza’s. It’s a great day when you attend a one day festival there and accessible and mellow as far as logistics.

Another festival that has been building momentum at the venue is LA radio station ‘Jack FM’ and their annual festival, this year was their 11th. Last year was great with the likes of Bush and Tears for Fears, but this year in particular was extra special and brought a few classic bands, and also indigenous to the venue bands such as Jane’s Addiction who were of course the headliner at the original Lollapalooza in 1991, not to mention having saw them at the venue other times with co-headline shows with Nine Inch Nails.

The day started off with a rousing set from cover band ‘Chevy Metal’ on the side stage. They built a pretty good sized crowd and had everyone rocking to covers of bands such as Queen and David Bowie, even closing out their set with Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars “Rock n’ Roll Suicide”, it was a perfect warm up.

The Side Stage Crowd for Chevy Metal

The Side Stage Crowd for Chevy Metal

The crowd moved into the main amphitheater area to kick things off with legendary indie-angst rockers Violent Femmes. Opening up with “Blister in the Sun” was totally appropriate as it was a pretty hot day in the OC. The band sounded great and the crowd was totally getting down to classic Femmes songs such as “Kiss Off” and “Gone Daddy Gone” and “American Music”. The set came to a huge climax with the signature hit “Add It Up”. Great to see these guys still making music after 30+ years and definitely a friendly face to see at the fest.

Violent Femmes

Violent Femmes

Next up was time for some 420 friendly folks known as House of Pain lead by white hip-hopper Everlast. These guys brought some new energy to the festival and definitely sent the crowd in a new direction. This band was definitely more of a gamble then other acts on the bill, but that being said they turned out to be the perfect act for the time slot, songs like “Shamrocks and Shenanigans” came off without a hitch as well as the Everlast solo acoustic tinged song “What It’s Like” and even a random cover of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues”. In the end Everlast addressed the crowd and told them it was time, and that he “wasn’t ashamed”, referring to the “one-hit wonder” song “Jump Around” that just about blew the roof off the joint (if there was a roof), it definitely go folks outta their seats and jumping around for sure!

House of Pain

House of Pain

The stage rotated and as darkness fell on the crowd outside so did a darker act, but certainly not any less amazing and intense.

Garbage took the stage and ripped into one of their earliest B-Sides “Subhuman”, lead singer Shirley Manson complete with bright pink hair absolutely killed it! Definitely a highlight of the day.

Having never seen Garbage in the 90’s, this was one I was excited to check out, and it did not disappoint. Thanks mostly to the enigmatic performance from Shirley Manson and her writhing and alien-like movements during songs like “I Think I’m Paranoid” and “#1 Crush”. One of the best songs of their set came when they performed “Only Happy When It Rains”, they absolutely killed it, so good!

Garbage

Garbage

Garbage brought their awesome set to a close with their 1998 hit “Push It” which had Shirley Manson spreading across the stage on the floor crooning “Don’t Worry Baby, We’ll Be Alright”.

And indeed they will, definitely one of the 90’s acts that deserves a place in the modern day music world!

How does the night get any better, well you bring out Ian Astbury and Billy Duffy and crew for a very memorable and intense set from The Cult.

From the start this set was legendary, legendary alt rock guitarist Billy Duffy ripped into “Wild Flower” as Ian Astbury grabbed the mic and began to wail, all while bouncing his tambourine at his side. Definitely a classic rock combo that is not to be missed in any era. But currently The Cult is going through a fantastic rebirth and it’s so great to see.

The Cult

The Cult

One of my all time favorite bands growing up, albums like ‘Electric’ and ‘Love’ of which the next song came from, “Rain” sounded fresh as day one, the band sunk down into their roots and made it happen.

After a totally rockin’ version of “Lil’ Devil”, a more rare treat occurred as the band lead us through “Phoenix” from 1985’s classic ‘Love’ album. Also played from the ‘Love’ album was “She Sells Sanctuary” which sounded phenomenal.

Billy Duffy of The Cult

Billy Duffy of The Cult

The Cult played a particularly and surprisingly awesome version of “Fire Woman” from the ‘Sonic Temple’ album and washed the crowd clean with an enormously kinetic version of “Love Removal Machine” from ‘Electric’, The Cult coming full circle. They are definitely one of the best live bands from back in the day that still completely bring it LIVE!

What else would you expect from an awesome day of stellar live acts but to end with LA’s very own classic Jane’s Addiction.

Personally I can’t think of one band I would want to see as my last live band at Irvine Meadows than Jane’s.

Perry Farrell and Dave Navarro go together like peanut butter and jelly. The make beautiful alt rock, and on this night as they have been doing for their current tour they played all of their 1990 masterpiece ‘Ritual de lo Habitual’ in it’s entirety, which kicks off with the fast paced and electric “Stop!”.

Jane's Addiction

Jane’s Addiction

It was a real treat to see Jane’s in this format playing all of that album, as I have never seen that do that. By the time they got to my two favorite songs “Three Days” followed by “Then She Did…” I was in the zone! Perry’s vocals sounded amazing and Dave Navarro’s guitar was stellar.

After closing out the Ritual album with the classic closer of “Classic Girl”, the band had a few more tricks up their sleeve as they tore into “Mountain Song” without missing a beat. “Comin’ down the mountain!” Perry wailed, and I was 18 again! So awesome!

They did two more tracks from 1988’s ‘Nothing’s Shocking’ album, which was the intense “Ted, Just Admit It” and in proper Jane’s fashion the band lead the stunned and almost saddened crowd in one last sing along with “Jane’s Says”.

What an incredible day and night of music with some of the music industry’s finest. All good things must come to an end, and as we left the sacred ground that is Irvine Meadows we leave with nothing but amazing stories and memories that one day we will tell the next generation of a time and place that existed that can never be destroyed.