|Violent Femmes perform during Jack's 9th Show in Anaheim on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014. Photo: Kelly A. Swift|
|Joan Jett at Jack's 9th Show on |
Sept. 20, 2014. Photo: Kelly A. Swift
Joan Jett, Collective Soul and Violent Femmes turn in the night’s best sets.
Published: Sept. 21, 2014 Updated: 4:15 p.m.
Jack's 9th Show, the latest multi-artist bash presented by Southern California's Jack FM radio station, offered up the good and the bad at Honda Center in Anaheim on Saturday night (Sept. 20, 2014).
Having clearly outdistanced every other act on the bill at Jack's Fourth Show back in 2009, Joan Jett & the Blackhearts' triumphant return as headliner in 2014 allowed the seminal rocker to not only play party-minded staples (“Cherry Bomb,” “Bad Reputation,” “I Love Rock 'n' Roll”) but to play a number of songs off her outstanding 2013 album Unvarnished (notably the biting “TMI,” melodic “Any Weather” and confessional “Fragile”).
|Ed Roland of Collective Soul.|
Another of the event’s strong performances came courtesy of Collective Soul’s outing. Performing a mix of number one hits and new material slated for an upcoming full-length ninth studio album, the Atlanta-based outfit got the crowd on its feet and singing along frequently, thanks to rousing versions of “December,” “The World I Know” and an epic set-ending tear through the group’s first hit “Shine.”
It was unfortunate that so many concertgoers arrived late on Saturday. Violent Femmes’ opening shot, at 7:15 sharp, was arguably the troupe’s most beloved track, “Blister in the Sun.” The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-spawned sonic export used their 40-minute slot to play their eponymous 1983 full-length debut from start to finish, a gift that proved to keep on giving via high-octane takes on “Kiss Off,” “Add It Up” (which in particular showed off the band's ability to blend hyper music-making with nuanced musicianship) and “Gone Daddy Gone.”
Jack's 9th Show’s other three performers simply couldn't measure up to Jett, Collective Soul or Violent Femmes. Opener Naked Eyes had the unfortunate task of playing to a sparse crowd. Singer-guitarist Pete Byrne used a more folk-rock approach with past and current material, including the tender “I Can't Get Over Losing You” (one of the last songs he wrote with Naked Eyes co-member Rob Fisher, who passed away in 1999 from cancer) and set-ending sing-alongs of “Promises, Promises” and “(There's) Always Something There to Remind Me.”
Faring poorly was Bow Wow Wow. The quartet's African rhythms-meets-New Wave attack was simply too busy, and singer Annabella Lwin often hit bad notes. A less-than-impressive "I Want Candy" was reduced to ridiculousness when two young girls came out to throw out candy but kept tossing the sweets to the same small section of seats near center stage.
|Billy Squier delivered an ill-fated solo set at |
Jack's 9th Show on Saturday night.
Worse still was Billy Squier. The American rocker, now 64, still plays guitar well and has the same distinctive voice behind a slew of hits he scored during the early 1980s. However, his decision to play alone accompanied only by his electric guitar was an odd one. Opening with “Lonely Is the Night,” it was as if everybody was waiting for some invisible curtain to rise and have a backing band join in. It never happened, and songs like “In the Dark,” “Everybody Wants You” and even a bluesy reworked version of Squier's biggest hit “The Stroke” landed with a thud. I couldn't help but wonder how different his set would have sounded if he had brought a talented rhythm section along to bring the songs to life.