All right, all you ironic Darkness-adoring trendoid wussies, let's see if you can hang with the real-deal big dawgs. This live CD, cut at the world's largest biker bar, the Full Throttle Saloon in the Harley haven of Sturgis, South Dakota, gives you exactly zero seconds to know if you're cut out for this or not -- the emcee comes out and bellows JACK-ALLLLLL!!!! and the band commences to rock. And it continues rocking nonstop for ten songs. And by rock, I mean chest-thumping, beer-spewing, fist-in-the-air, blues-filtered-through-AC/DC rock.
Vocal shredder Jesse James Dupree is the kind of guy who lights birthday candles with a flamethrower. Listen to him introduce the second song here: "This is what brought us together back in about 1992 -- it's called I STAND HEEHHLOWNAHHAHHAHHA!!!" (That's "I Stand Alone," for those of you who don't speak rock.) When he's not channeling Bon Scott or Brian Johnson, Dupree shows himself to be the rare hard rock vocalist who can pull off a falsetto that snarls as well as wails. (Johnson has collaborated with the band and has called Jackyl a glimmer of hope in what he sees as a depressing contemporary state of rock.) That snarling-wailing dynamic also defines the guitar work of Jeff Worley, who growls along in the background, stalking out spots to unleash 50-caliber machine gun bursts of hot-lead fretboard rhetoric.
Elsewhere, a Harley is revved on stage from time to time, and, of course, the blues-rocker "The Lumberjack" features the band's patented chain-saw-guitar, which is just what it sounds like: a double-necked beast equal to the task of both rocking and chopping wood. (The band once assaulted a steak house full of rock radio programmers with these instruments; the band said it was a joke, but they ended up coughing up over a million dollars in the ensuing lawsuit.) Dupree even solos on the chain-saw neck, which is something I have never heard, and adds, at album's end, "I can jack my lumber all I want, 'cause it feels gooooood." Indeed.
Anyway, while the Darkness plays for the pretty people in all the posh venues in hip cities from coast to coast, these north Georgians have been shredding, ripping shit up and jacking their lumber in places like Traverse City, Michigan; Arrington, Tennessee; and Tomahawk, Wisconsin, to crowds of people for whom this is anything but an in-joke. And what's more, Jackyl makes better music, rocks harder and has been more inventive along the way. Buy this CD, or better yet, the DVD, and see if you don't break some stuff when you play it. Or you can dig it because it would be far more ironic to be into a band that didn't get the joke. Whatever.