If you were at the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion show at the Iron Horse Music Hall Wednesday night, you would have forgotten that you were in a tiny, half filled club. That's not meant to be a knock on the band at all. When you're a band that appeals mostly to the 30+ crowd, and you're playing a college town on a Wednesday night that just happens to be the last snowy/icy night of an already shit show of a winter, getting anyone to come out is a feat. A JSBX show starts of like any ordinary show does: The band gets up, starts playing a few songs in the way they do off their albums, and that's a show, right? Something starts to happen during any JSBX show. About halfway through, the band hits this insane groove where the entire audience gets completely swept up in what's happening. Jon Spencer turns from rock frontman to blues revival preacher. You would start to wonder if the band was using some of the tricks you hear youth pastors use to work kids in religious frenzies if you weren't already wrapped in one yourself.
The setlist drew largely from their fantastic new album, Freedom Tower - No Wave Dance Party 2015. They broke out a couple covers, the Beastie Boys' "She's On It" and Dead Boys' "What Love Is" (sung by drummer Judah Bauer), and played some shortened versions of classics like "Sweat" and "2 Kindsa Love." No one cared that the classics were shortened, since at the religious fervor section of the show, not even the biggest die hards could tell if they were playing actual songs or just punked up blues jams. The night wasn't dedicated to all new material, and the encore (which was almost as long as the entire first set) featured their punk anthem "Identify" and the Russell Simins sung "Fuck Shit Up." If this is how tight and wild the first night of their tour was, the rest of the country may not survive. Or will at least have a mini baby boom.
To find out when the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is coming to your town, check out their website. You can also download a live medley that includes "What Love Is" on their Bandcamp.