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    Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is a knock-down, drag out, high energy show; and twenty-five years in to their career they shreds through 2 minute blues-punk anthems with the fervor of Jack White from fifteen years ago.  And last night, when the band came through Zanzabar they put on a show that should remind kids of the raw power of live music.

    Spencer himself has a voice, a little more jagged than the old days – but has aged gracefully with the grit of experience.  The almost 30 song set dug deep into their early catalog, cherry picking from the band’s well of classic neo-blues albums, like:  Crypt Style, Orange, Extra Width, and Now I Got Worry.

    Spencer and guitarist Judah Bauer have a grinding buzz saw approach, filling that cut right through the bar and rattled the audience to their collective core.  Tracks like “’78 Style,” “Bellbottoms,” “Tales of Old New York:  The Rock Box,” “Money Rock n’ Roll,” “F**k Sh*t Up,” and “Get Your Pants Off” – each sounds as visceral, and heartfelt as it was the day it was written.  These are songs that Spencer felt, the words tattooed on the inside of his skin, songs that were well lived-in.  And that level of intensity leaves such a spark in the static air of the bar.

    A personal highlight was when the band varied from their own catalog to cover the punk rock, C.B.G.B., classic “What Love Is” from new your degenerate impresarios The Dead Boys.  As I walked out of the bar, it felt nice to be reminded of an often overlooked and forgotten chapter of the blues book – which is that brief moment in time, the small flashpoint where punk and blues actually coexisted in the same space at the same time.

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    About Brent Owen

    Born and raised in Louisville, I have lived here most of my life (except during a short furlough, when I, lovelorn and naive, followed a girl to Baton Rouge). My roots are here, my family, my friends, and my life are all here. I work primarily as a free-lance writer for a few local and regional publications. I have also written two books (one a memoir, the other a novel) that barring some divine intervention, will probably never see the light of day. I find myself deeply ingrained in the local bar scene, or perhaps better said, I often indulge in the local drinking culture. I love music, movies, comedy, and really just about any other live performance art.

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