Live Picks: 05.02.2011 – 05.04.2011

05.02: Emperor X + Native America + Ben Jones + Chris Rehm  – Allways Lounge

05.03: Dragonsmoke – Tipitina’s

05.04: Jon Spencer Blues Explosion + JEFF the Brotherhood – One Eyed Jacks

Much has been made of the modern resurgence of jive white guy noise blues, with bands like the Black Keys being lauded as much for their adherence to Muddy Waters/Robert Johnson roots as their ability to make it palatable for America’s growing number of former sorority and/or party chicks spending their late twenties as one-foot-out-the-door scenesters. This is no small feat, as we as a society have become very fickle about what passes for “cool”. What’s more amazing, though, is how easily we forget about such things as contemporaries, influences, muses, and even progenitors.

With respect to a band like the Black Keys, the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is none of those things. Though the New York trio’s career has arguably mirrored that of the Black Keys, from their blues-rock ethic to their electronic and hip hop remix leanings, the Blues Explosion is substantially much more influenced by honest garage rock and less attune to fixations on recording texture. As a result, JSBX presents the case of a band who not so much did this stuff before it was cool as much as did this stuff last time it was cool; after all, with white blues acts like the Fabulous Thunderbirds having come a decade before them, part of Spencer and Co.’s charm always lied in the kitschy and already-done nature of both their music and persona. Regardless, it was indeed cool. Spending the better part of their career in the 1990s on then-burgeoning Matador Records, the band put out nine studio albums and two remix albums as they collaborated, both as a full unit and individually, with such iconic figures as Calvin Johnson of Dub Narcotic Sound System, Beck, Prince Paul, Chuck D of Public Enemy, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and R.L. Burnside.

After a short stint operating under the shorter “Blues Explosion” moniker, followed by an extended hiatus from both touring and recording, the band has finally hit the road again, and will be making a rare stop in New Orleans. They’ll be joined by the always-explosive Tennessee garage rock duo JEFF the Brotherhood.

MP3: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: “Full Grown”

Check out our New Orleans Music Calendar for a full slate of constantly updated live picks


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