Playboy’s SXSW 2009 Party w/ Jane’s Addiction [Party Review]

by oz on March 30, 2009

Playboy Bunnies

Playboy hosted their 10th Annual Late Night Party at SXSW 2009 at an old Safeway supermarket, headlined by Janes Addiction and attended by the trendiest crowd you’ll find at SxSW. While I normally enjoy walking around Austin to see indie bands in a t-shirt with wet armpits, the Playboy party was a refreshing change of pace. And not just because of the free bar.

Shirk and I strolled in to a half empty party and started into the complimentary cocktails. We’d seen opening act Kenan Bell the night before at our party, where he was shockingly good and became the talk of the night. He had taken command of the room and left people breathless. I’m the first to admit I’m not a hip-hop guy, but Kenan has the ability to transcend genres – it helps that he’s backed by a full band. Bell was one of the biggest buzz acts of SxSW and definitely someone to keep your eyes on in 2009. I’m sure his appearance at this party will open a few doors for him.

kenan2

Image: Kenan Bell at SXSW

After Kenan’s set, we randomly bumped into Erika Wennerstrom, lead singer from the band Heartless Bastards, in the crowd. Not bad company to keep while you’re waiting for one of the greatest rock bands of our time, Jane’s Addiction. We talked at length with Erika who, like every band we met at SxSW, was incredibly friendly and also much tinier than I’d imagined. It may seem weird, but like meeting Justin Townes Earle,‚  I was a little star struck. Then Jane’s came on stage and all hell broke loose.

Well, not really. The crowd was too cool to get out of control, but fists were pumping, I spilled some drink down my shirt and I think a little squirt of pee came out. I like Jane’s Addiction.

Jane's Addiction at Playboy Party

Image: Jane's Addiction at Playboy Party

Surprise! Dave Navarro was topless.

All kidding aside, Navarro impressed, but I think most Jane’s Addiction fans agree that the real power of the band lies in the rhythm section. Perkins and Avery are back with the band and, although the photographers set up shop on the Hollywood side of the stage (Navarro), the band opened by showcasing the bassline on “Three Days.” It served as a well deserved “Welcome back.”

Over half of the set was comprised of tracks from Nothing Shocking with the rest filled in by Ritual de lo Habitual. Highlights for me were “Mountain Song” and “Ocean Size,” but the real joy came in seeing the bright stage lights, favorite songs perfectly executed and a true rock band working the stage to deliver exactly what the crowd was craving. Raw emotion, classic songs and an upcoming reunion tour for the ages.

Although the party was free, I’d happily pay to see Jane’s Addiction again…if only they weren’t touring with Nine Inch Nails.

Video (courtesy of ultra8201)

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

oddbodkins March 30, 2009 at 8:00 am

At least you have the luxury of deciding based on the acts themselves. The NIN|JA tour (i do love that name) is hitting Nissan Post Pavillion locally, easily the worst venue on the planet. It’s the place Radiohead played a while back and people spent 8 hours trying to get into and still couldn’t. Keep in mind, it’s an outdoor venue BUT ONLY HAS ONE ROAD LEADING AND LEAVING FROM IT. Seriously, i’ve never spent less than two-plus hours getting out of that place. i wouldn’t go see Jesus play there (and, as we all know, Jesus is a mutha on bass), yet alone JA or NIN.

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