Jane’s Addiction, Los Angeles’ own groundbreaking alternative rockers, headlined the annual Rhonda’s Kiss Benefit Concert at the Hollywood Palladium on Friday, December 8th. Rhonda’s Kiss is a non-profit organization, named for it’s inspiration, Rhonda Stefanski, who lost her battle with pancreatic cancer in 2014. The program provides support for programs to cancer patients and their families in areas outside of medical costs. The organization is headed up by her husband Mark and son Ryan Stefanski, and helps those affected by a cancer diagnosis in meeting their basic financial obligations, which can be an overlooked burden to those dealing with the hardship of paying for and supporting a loved one’s treatment. Proceeds from this year’s event will benefit the Cedar’s Sinai Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute. The 2017 installment also honored Dr. Keith Black, receiving the “Rhonda’s Kiss Healing & Hope Award”.
Master of ceremonies is comedian Greg Behrendt, a cancer survivor himself, who warms up the crowd with a brief stand-up set. Opening the evening musically is a group of musicians whose combined pedigree would make them worthy of being the headliner. This is pretty much a double bonus for those in attendance. Hellcat Saints kicks off their set with Franky Perez (Apocalyptica) on vocals, Josh Freese (Devo, Nine Inch Nails) on drums, Dave Kushner (Velvet Revolver) on guitar and Scott Shriner (Weezer) on bass. After two numbers, they are joined by Billy Duffy (The Cult) on guitar. They tear through two Cult tunes, Fire Woman and Love Removal Machine, the latter of which was performed with more energy and passion by this ensemble than by it’s originators, in this writer’s opinion. Jerry Cantrell (Alice In Chains) joins the lineup and takes vocal duties for a cover of Thin Lizzy’s Jailbreak, punctuated by a screaming guitar solo from Duffy. The entire troupe grinds out Alice’s Man in the Box, with Perez faithfully replicating the vocals.
A quick stage reset, a bit of charity business, and an increasingly swollen Palladium floor herald the arrival of Jane’s Addiction to the stage. They begin their onslaught of tribal beats and searing guitar tunes to a crowd of bouncing, 40-somethings. The throng sings along with vocalist Perry Farrell when he accentuates parts of certain songs as if they are part of the band. The set is a feast for the eyes as well as the ears. Stephen Perkins and Chris Chaney, on drums and bass respectively provide the audible backdrop for the scintillating symphony. Their sound is like the blending of native drumming and a funk bass line. This melange of bottom creates an unusual contrast from guitarist Dave Navarro’s high tone, searing guitar work. Visually, the quartet is joined on-stage by a duo of burlesque-inspired, scantily clad dancing girls for several songs. Farrell engages in a simulated, semi-orgiastic, faux sex act with one of the ladies at one point in the proceedings. It’s OK though, as she happens to be his wife.
Upon surveying the room, one can see that the audience is largely represented by loyal Jane’s addicts. One of those loyalists, Lysa Renee Pavlowich, has been a fan since 1987. She estimates that she has seen the band over 50 times, and explains, that they “feed her soul and she can’t even put into words how amazing they are.” Although the set was only seven songs deep, the room did not seem disappointed in the selection. After the main set, a guitar autographed by all members of Jane’s Addiction as well as Jerry Cantrell was auctioned off, fetching a whopping $10,000.00. The headliners then reconvened for the encore of Jane Says, with Perkins alternating the bongos and a steel drum. The crowd revels in the encore number. It appeared that the crowd could have gone for a second hour, but as the old saying goes, always leave them wanting more, and Jane’s Addiction surely did that.
AIN’T NO RIGHT
TED, JUST ADMIT IT
BEEN CAUGHT STEALING
MAN IN THE BOX