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Last Night: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion at Fitzgerald's

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Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Weird Party Fitzgerald's January 21, 2013

"We use these instruments like jackhammers," says Jon Spencer, headlining Fitzgerald's with the Blues Explosion on the evening of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, leaving the venue's proverbial and literal ears ringing.

The show was an early one by Houston standards, starting at 8:30 p.m. Why do the touring and routing gods torture us so with a show like this on a weeknight coming right off a three-day holiday weekend?

Yes you do, Mr. Spencer. Yes you do. I am also sure that your trio -- guitarist Judah Bauer and drummer Russell Simins -- would find a way to use jackhammers like instruments, too, if you had the opportunity.

The JSBX was in town on Monday night touring behind last fall's Meat+Bone, their first slab of new material since 2004's Damage.

Openers Weird Party, the only Houston band I could think of to adequately open for the JSBX, made quick work of their sizable crowd, all Shawn Adolph akimbo out front.

They played nearly all of last year's Hussy, a favorite local album of 2012, plus a cover of Alice Cooper's "Is It My Body?"

A very open secret about Weird Party is that Kyle Gionis is one of the most underrated guitarists in Houston. He's one of my favorites to watch in town. So it's not a secret anymore. You should all go see Weird Party as much as you can, and watch him.

At some point, I overheard someone say that this was their kid's first club show. The JSBX as your first "show" puts you on a different plain than your friends at school, I would imagine. It shows that your parents are cool, they had a fun time in their twenties, and that you will always be a little let down from here on out by static, snoozer indie bands.

I wish I was this kid.

The JSBX live show is not a quiet one. Set to two screaming, raunchy guitars; rolling, broiling drums; and intense volume, Spencer's howling reminded us that we are experiencing a blue explosion.

This year one of their most beloved works, Extra Width, turns 20. Let that sink in. JSBX has reached a level of longevity that few in the punk-blues movement could ever wish for. Their continued effortless energy onstage makes bands a fraction of their age seem sallow.

I have always wanted to see the women that helped inspire Spencer's "wooooooooooh" and "waaaaaaaah." What did they look like? How tall were their go-go boots and retro beehive hairdos? Do they now run exciting and informative DIY parenting blogs in upstate New York?

Personal Bias: The blues is No. 1. Hey, I guess I could have stolen Marco Torres's line from his B.B. King review and been fine here.

The Crowd: With longevity and awesomeness come fans in the crowd Monday who saw the band on that Fitz stage in 1994. More than a few of them.

Overheard In the Crowd: "Fuck it, let's make it a four-day weekend," said an adventurous fan who will probably just make MLK Day weekend into a weeklong affair.

Random Notebook Dump: So was the whole town split last night between this show and Jeff Mangum at the Wortham? Pretty much. There was considerably more drinking at this one.


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