Posted in music | pictures on June 18, 2009

words & photos by Dominick Mastrangelo

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

"I gotta go! I'm gonna ride my bike right out of here," said Jon Spencer at the end of the Blues Explosion's blistering hour-long set at the South Street Seaport yesterday (6/17). Playing to the riding masses as part of the Bicycle Film Festival kickoff, JSBX reminded those who braved threatening skies and this enduring spring's chilly temperatures that - as one foam finger displayed - the 'Blues is #1.'

The crowd may have been smaller than most to pack the Seaport but the New York-based Blues Explosion might as well have been playing for every single person in Lower Manhattan. Judah Bauer on guitar (and a fiery harmonica during the encore, "Bellbottoms") and drummer Russell Simins charged from one song to another with traditional reckless abandon.

Opening for the locals were French four-piece, The Teenagers. Their mashup of punk, pop and electronics was fun though lead-singer Quentin Delafon pulled much of the attention away from the band as a whole. Climbing over speakers and through the photographer's pit and over the barricade, Delafon spent more time strutting around off the stage, or handing his microphone off to audience members than he did on stage, even forgetting his cue at one point.

More pictures below...

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

The Teenagers

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

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Comments (47)

Awesome show THE BLUES IS NUMBER 1!!!

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 5:09 PM

damn.. wish i had known this was goin on.. anyone got a setlist?

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 5:14 PM

Is he wearing chocolate Fruit Roll-ups as pants?

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 5:15 PM

awesome Liberal Jim shot in the last picture.

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 5:16 PM

best concert i have seen in a while... probably the best concert of the summer.... i'm glad they are playing again. They still kick ass...

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 5:18 PM

Anyone who opted not to go to this, made a really really bad decision.

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 5:22 PM

the teenagers are a 3 piece band not 4. they were trying to have fun with it though, definitely not a good venue for them but still a lot of fun!

Posted by a | June 18, 2009 5:40 PM


i can smell jon spencer's pants from here.

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 5:46 PM

i was thoroghly embarrassed for the teenagers, they sucked!!!

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 5:47 PM

Very poorly promoted show. but great

Posted by jsbx rules | June 18, 2009 5:50 PM

what the hell. why did i have no idea this was happening? upsetting.

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 5:59 PM

The crap weather and the fact that it was a Wednesday might have had something to do with the less than usual crowd, but I think it ultimately was just a very poorly promoted event. Such a shame as it was probably a top 3 performance of all the Seaport shows.

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 6:25 PM

They playing career-spanning sets? What's the setlist like?

Posted by Tito | June 18, 2009 6:28 PM

The Teenagers do deserve to be playing for a crowd size of 8. Total garbage

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 7:17 PM

id love a setlist too...this was one of the best free outdoor shows ive seen in ages...the band was so fucking great.

also worth noting, i felt like most of the crowd was 30+...very few younger types in the crowd and thankfully very little to no camera phones constantly being held up...

ive been so down on free outdoor shows lately because the crowds suck but this show's crowd was great...it was like things used to be.

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 7:28 PM

I don't recall the exact order, but these are the songs I remember them playing. Great show, though -- I wish they played more often.

Extra Width: "Afro," "Soul Typecast"
Orange: "Bellbottoms," "Dang," "Flavor"
Now I Got Worry: "Wail," "Fuck Shit Up," "2Kindsa Love," Chicken Dog"
Acme: "Magical Colors," "High Gear," I Wanna Make It All Right," "Attack"
Plastic Fang: "She Said"
Damage: "Burn It Off," "Fed Up and Low Down"
Jukebox Explosion: "Son of Sam," "Naked," "Down Low"

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 7:39 PM

Started off slow, but really picked up at the end.

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 7:58 PM

great recollection on the tracks..

Just left 1 track off..."Mars, Arizona" off of Damage

A very tight set. Good to see the "old" theremin made its way back from the grave.

Posted by webhole | June 18, 2009 9:35 PM

Great show and setlist....what an encore.
Best free NY show for a while and great to see JSBX back on form......nice appreciative crowd with no camera phones or dick heads

Posted by Anonymous | June 18, 2009 10:52 PM

I was a little apprehensive, could the Blues Explosion still cut-it after all of these years? My fears were assuaged - they still have it. A great show, building in momentum as it progressed, and peaking at the end of the BX's regular set. Their encore featuring Dub Narcotic's "Fuck Shit Up" was inspired. As Mr. Foam Finger so ably expressed, "The Blues are #1!" This NYC treasure deserved a larger crowd, although the one on hand seemed to have had a great time, and was quite vocal. The Teenagers acquitted themselves honorably, although that "ironic" purple hat was simply cringeworthy. Special mention should be made of DJ Jonathan Toubin's excellent and under-appreciated spinning.

Posted by Royce Farrell | June 19, 2009 12:35 AM

An unwelcome return of a lousy "band."

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 12:43 AM

^ Finally, a word from the B.V. hipster douche contingent!

It must be miserable going through life as a contrarian ass...

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 1:17 AM

Is that the guy from the Stray Cats?

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 2:50 AM

One of the best shows I've seen in awhile, JSBX still delivers. The kids could learn something...

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 7:08 AM

to Webhole: I haven't seen the old theremin on the pics/videos. Are you sure? I think it was broken or stolen in 2001?

Great songs, I wish I was there too. I saw them again twice in Paris france last year. I was a bit apprehensive but they really made the show and convinced everyone. best live band ever. for real.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 7:28 AM

to the stunning, hot-panted young lady dancing onstage with the teenagers: please run away to bayonne with me.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 8:00 AM

The theremin was indeed in effect - hard to mistake. Maybe he bought a new one on ebay.

Posted by Jason | June 19, 2009 8:15 AM

Jon spencers guitar looks like he found it in the garbage.I like it

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 8:37 AM

12:43 probably thinks labels like In The Red, Bag of Hammers, Estrus and the like are load of crap too.

have fun at MGMT!

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 8:45 AM

Theremin: after the classic theremin was stolen way back when, he started using a more modern smaller round one..but the old style theremin made it's way back to the stage for this show. It was behind an amp so maybe not all that visible.

Also, I forgot another track off Damage they played..."Rivals"

Posted by webhole | June 19, 2009 8:48 AM

that singer from the teenagers looks like a giant dripping douche.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 9:42 AM

haha, he really does. and the lyrics to his songs confirms it

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 10:08 AM

Does anyone know how old the dudes in JSBX are? It's 2009 and they look/play like Orange was just a couple of years ago.

I can't believe that was free. That band should be selling out arenas.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 10:37 AM

The fourth BX photo (with Spencer silhouetted against the "WE LIKE BIKES" backdrop) has both theremins in it. The little round blob on top of his amp with the red light on it is the new-fangled one, and the old school version can be seen directly behind it, straight from the cover of "Orange." ...and, if I'm not mistaken, his guitar IS from a thrift shop, or similar. I read somewhere that Cristina bought it for something like $99, and Judah complains that it won't stay in tune.

Posted by Royce Farrell | June 19, 2009 11:12 AM

fuck me. i didn't even know this shit was going down.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 11:20 AM

Did anyone see the blues play at the Bowery Electric on tues? I feel like Im going crazy but no one is talking about it but it was fucking insane.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 11:47 AM

No, way! Seriously? They have to be mounting a comeback.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 12:00 PM

the guitar cost $17.00

"I use a guitar that doesn’t have brand name, it’s from Korea or Japan. My wife Cristina bought it on Avenue B for seventeen dollars, and it’s what I started the band playing."

from this article

http://www.pop-catastrophe.co.uk/817.aspx

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 12:28 PM

The crowd was great. The Teenagers are actually one of the worst bands i have heard in years. It sucked that I got there early and had to stay there while blood poured out of my ears. they should be lucky that 8 people went to see them and that they opened for Jon Spencer BX. Two 20 year olds asked me where was the after party cause the Teenagers were going there. The two girls were sad caused they missed the Teenagers. I told them "who cares, u just saw the best concert you've probably ever seen." They didnt like it.

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 1:14 PM

Guitar Player, June 2002:

Jon, are you still using the same no-name guitar?

Spencer: Yeah. My wife bought it about ten years ago for $17. She used it for a while, and then it was just sitting around. I picked it up, and I've been using it ever since.

Bauer: Jon likes to say he doesn't know what make that guitar is, but he does. It's called a Zimgar. Maybe he says he doesn't know because he cut off half of the headstock! Whenever I see one of those guitars around, I pick it up to see if it sounds like his, but none of them ever do.

What is it about that guitar?

Bauer: There's something about the bridge pickup. Someone took it out once to check its specs, but there was nothing out of the ordinary. It's just a real weird sounding pickup. That guitar drives me crazy, though. The intonation is so shot that I've gotten used to bending my strings slightly when we play. At least I know it's Jon's fault if we're out of tune!

What are you going to do if it finally dies?

Spencer: It has been through a lot, but it holds up. I have a couple more, but they don't have the same sound. My main one has such a distinct growl. Maybe after a few years of hard use and a lot of sweat, the spare ones will age and get better.

Posted by Royce Farrell | June 19, 2009 1:26 PM

Glad to hear this show rocked... didnt even know it was goin on!?!!

JSBX is one of the great NYC bands of all time... respect!

Posted by the truth | June 19, 2009 2:32 PM

shit. I wish I knew about this.

Posted by Jason Lam | June 19, 2009 5:20 PM

"The two girls were sad caused they missed the Teenagers. I told them "who cares, u just saw the best concert you've probably ever seen." They didnt like it."

Brilliant

Posted by Anonymous | June 19, 2009 9:32 PM

Who's Jon Spencer, isn't he that talk show guy?

TEENAGERS DOMINATED!

Posted by Anonymous | June 20, 2009 3:17 PM

^^^Either bad sarcasm, a child or an idiot. Do some music homework.

Posted by blackhat | June 20, 2009 3:54 PM

The Blues are Number One, Baby! Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is #1! I hope to see them again soon. Great to see that they are live and well. I repeat, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion is fanfuckingtastic! YEAH!!!

Posted by Robert Brown | July 29, 2009 3:42 PM

Man, I'm from Australia, and was not at this gig, but thanks to those great pics I could almost smell it. Hopefully JSBX on tour again out here this summer??...

Posted by Renee McLean | August 5, 2009 7:35 AM

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