Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Shepherds Bush Empire, London, November 1998
When the scream of “That's the sweat of The Blues Explosion!” echoes, you can see said sweat fly through the air. I had the album Orange from a few years back, and the garage rock, almost Elvis-schtick used to go down a treat when you're mid-20s and can fit skinny jeans. Listening now, with girth of a 44-year-old I am not sure I could pull the moves off. I think on the surface, the pastiche these guys pull off might look cheesy, but don't underestimate their musical ability, and as with most good homages to style, the love & knowledge of the source material is obvious. Blue Explosion straddled blues, punk and even hip hop beats for a while there, so I suppose they are a very ‘New York’ band. Memories of the gig are not superb, I was stoked to see them, but I guess if I don't remember it that well, then it made little overall impact. I think this was the first trip to Chez Boo for a gig, and once again the big old theatre was pretty Muppet Show and cool for a Kiwi lad. Something I did do, which I never did much, was buy a t-shirt at the gig, and to this day it must have been the only size S one I have ever fit into. Looking at photos, squeezed into that and jeans I can hear my mother's voice in my head: “Are you feeding yourself alright?”. Nowadays it would be a crop top! Hats off to The Blues Explosion though: they do rock, they do work for your dollar or pound. Song choice for this is ‘Bellbottoms’ from their 1994 album Orange. Thanky ou very much, ladies and gentlemen.