Danko Jones: Live in Spokane, Dec. 9th

Danjo Jones

Danko Jones

Hard rock has earned an ill report lately in certain artistic circles.  And sadly, some of the negativity being thrown at the genre is actually well deserved.  What with some of the same tired old bands screaming out lyrics you can’t understand to the same 3 or 4 chords bursting with enthusiasm but lacking any creativity, it does make sense.  But thankfully there is still hope.  Yes, spread out amongst the damned and bitter under world, there are some things to get excited about.  And making his way, after a very long journey, through the current mainstream is none other than the Canadian guitar-wielding maestro of the insane, Danko Jones.

Spokane is not much of an indie rock centered city in its entirety.  If it were, you may have heard of it more.  Fact in point:  who is the most famous musician to come out of the Lilac City?  Answer:  Bing Crosby.  Therefore, it only seems fitting that that there may be a half a million people yearning to rebel against the normal simplicity and mundane existence of not exactly having the cultural significance of their neighbors to the west like Seattle and Portland.  But, who gives a shit right?  Spokane just wants to rock! And they flooded the Knitting Factory to shelter themselves from the freezing rain that was falling, and to spend their Thursday night beating the holy Hell out of each other in classic moshing fashion.  And whether they noticed it or not, they were surely witnessing a revolution in the hard rock scene as the wide eyed and immensely talented Danko serenaded them with a wide array of intense sounding tales of love, hope, and of course, rocking and rolling!

As the lights dimmed blue, and spilled into red over a packed house, Danko Jones and his electrifying duo on the bass and drums came out faster than a bolt of lightning moving through a wind turbine.  The set list may have mainly stuck to tracks of his latest, and much more modernized, album Below the Belt, there were a few throwbacks from his last twelve years as a musician.  The highlight of the evening was definitely when he bolted out his 2006 single “Do You Kiss On The First Date?”, of which many of lady Spokanites were quick to answer “Hell Yeah!” as bodies surfed across the pit, and brassieres were flung to the stage (and then properly display by bassist John Calabrese, such a gentleman!).  Jones properly acknowledged that most of his songs are about, well, women in some way shape or form.  Many who broke his heart, some who uplifted him, and some who he might have had the opportunity to “pleasure”.  More specifically – pleasuring orally.  It doesn’t get much more rock and roll than that!

Danko Jones has been playing and touring since the alternative hey days of the mid 90’s.  And he has not lost that sense of actual creativity that seemed to have been lost as the new millennium took hold.  There was a time when rap lyrics where not necessary to be a successful hard rock/alternative act.  And this guy is still compelling us with this form to this very day.  Let’s be extremely proud that our man is keeping it much more Stabbing Westward than Linkin Park in this day and age.

There is something absolutely captivating about watching a thousand people lose their minds over heavy guitar riffs and ear splitting and powerful lyrics being tossed around the room harder than a pop star’s genitalia.  There is also something very inspiring to know that an actual artist and brilliant songwriter has gathered so much support and popularity in this time of screaming with a vengeance into a sad little microphone.  Danko Jones and Spokane were in perfect unison on this very night.  The sad youth and aging metal fans of this fair city lost all sense of reality for a short while, and the only thing that mattered was the pursuit to have the best time possible.  And that proved pretty damn easy as this high spirited and tremendously talented hard rocker left the crowd bruised and tattered, both physically and emotionally.

And as the final song played, and Danko saluted the crowd, there was a certain magic that was undeniable.  Sure, there wasn’t going to be a finale.  But, the look in his eyes as he prepared to depart was exciting enough.  It was the look of extremely hard work.  It was the look of a man filled with surprise by every bit of success he has achieved.  There was humility in this electrifying Canadian’s eyes.  He had down it.  He had invaded a midsized city, packed its favorite venue, and stole the hearts of old fans, and definitely created some new ones.  He would surely be off to another city that would steal his heart once again.  But, he can leave Spokane knowing that he left twelve years of his guts and glory lying upon the stage, as well as on the shoulders of a thousand Eastern Washington thrill seekers.  Just as any real entertainer should try and do.  And there is one thing that Danko Jones has that most artists of his spectrum have seemed to have forgotten about.  Grace.  That and the ability to write the shit out of a song, and put it display in the age old fashion out of this world, dirt in your eyes and blood on your shoes, rock and roll!

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