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Porno for Pyros

Spontaneous hype isn't always an easy challenge for a musician to live up to. But when the object of the hype is Perry Farrell, an artist whose standards are generally set on a higher plane, it's not unreasonable to expect justification for the buzz. This being Porno for Pyros' first "official" gig, all available tickets were snapped up in short order, but the expectations of the audience simply weren't met.

Spontaneous hype isn’t always an easy challenge for a musician to live up to. But when the object of the hype is Perry Farrell, an artist whose standards are generally set on a higher plane, it’s not unreasonable to expect justification for the buzz. This being Porno for Pyros’ first “official” gig, all available tickets were snapped up in short order, but the expectations of the audience simply weren’t met.

Following a brief delay caused by crowd-supplied fireworks, Farrell seemingly warned the house with “Here goes nothing,” a phrase that became increasingly prophetic as the brief, 48-minute show went on. He appeared listless, almost confused, a handicap that the rest of the band never really overcame.

The sound itself was a curious mix of funk-bass, effects-heavy guitar and wild percussive rhythms, all frosted with Farrell’s echo-chamber vocals. Much of the music was similar to the second half of the last Janes Addiction album–a lot of atmosphere and mood but not a lot of distinguishable song.

Drummer Stephen Perkins, formerly of Janes and Infectious Grooves, is the anchor of the band, laying down a continuous barrage of African-inspired beats and rhythms that propelled many of the tunes. Martyne Lenoble played a solid Primus/Chilis-style of walkin’-funk bass, while guitarist Peter DiStefano weaved psychedelic chords that often took a back seat to the rest of the music.

Song highlights were the swayin’ “We’ll Make Great Pets” and “Porno for Pyros ,” a song that DiStefano did put his mark on. But Farrell, the center of most of the audience attention, was disappointing. Clad in a shiny black outfit, he blew the occasional harp, made the odd sarcastic remark (“How’d you like the riots?”) and ran through what he said were all the songs that the band knew (nine in all).

He never connected with the crowds, though, and he never seemed interested in making a very strong musical statement–both very much out of character for someone whose credo was once “Nothing Shocking.”

Porno for Pyros

(Castaic Lake Amphitheater; 3,200 capacity; $ 15 top)

  • Production: Promoted by GoldenVoice. Reviewed July 11, 1992.
  • Crew:
  • Cast: Band: Perry Farrell, Stephen Perkins, Peter DiStefano, Martyne Lenoble.
  • Music By: