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(Above: The Corin Tucker Band cap off a great show with an encore cover of The Selecters “Three Minute Hero” at the Record Bar in Kansas City, Mo.)

By Joel Francis
The Daily Record

Corin Tucker disappointed Sleater-Kinney’s small but passionate fanbase when she put the band on hiatus in 2006. Now touring in support of her second solo album, the excellent “Kill Your Blues,” the riotgrrl brought the small but dedicated Friday night crowd at the RecordBar up to speed on her life.

“I took some time to be a mom and have some kids,” Tucker sang on “Groundhog Day,” also comparing  herself to “Rip Van Winkle in a denim skirt” on the same verse.

Tucker’s solo work is more expansive, but also retains most of her trademarks. “None Like You” opened with a creepy synthesizer riff that was almost gothic. The breakdown on “Neeskowin” was almost disco, with drummer Sara Lund riding the hi-hat while bass player Dave Depper roped a funky bassline.

The song “Constance” may best exhibit Tucker’s growth and confidence as a songwriter. The imagery of a child ready to leave home and anxious parents not ready for her to go draws from emotions born of Tucker’s motherhood. At the same time the melody treads between a Nirvana-inspired chorus that would have been at home on any number of Sleater-Kinney albums, but also features nuanced choruses built around tiny organ riffs that points the music in a new direction. Later, Tucker wasn’t afraid to let “Joey,” a tribute to the late Ramones singer, flow with tenderness.

While the night was peppered with poppy moments, Tucker’s voice still flips and snarls like an angry acrobat when it needs to, punching and kicking notes with joyful abandon. Her minimalist guitar noodling played nicely off the large noisy wash from Seth Lorinczi’s guitar. At times, Lorinczi’s guitar sounded like an aggressive takedown of the Ravonettes.

Between songs, Tucker reminded people to vote, intentionally – and hilariously – confusing senate candidate Todd “legitimate rape” Aikin with American Idol Clay Aiken.

The 70-minute set leaned heavily on “Kill Your Blues,” featuring all but two of the album’s dozen cuts. The remaining spots in the setlist were filled with songs from Tucker’s 2010 solo debut, “1,000 Years.” For the encore, Tucker turned the ska bounce of The Selecter’s “Three Minute Hero” into a furious punk song.

Almost a year ago to the day, Wild Flag, the band featuring the other two-thirds of Sleater-Kinney, delivered an incredible performance for a sold-out crowd that hung on every note. The fans who made it a point to see the highly anticipated Wild Flag set, did themselves a disservice by missing Tucker. She may not have the NPR hype machine behind her, but Tucker is making music just as inventive and vitals as her former bandmates. Hopefully next time she’ll be playing to the full room she deserves.

Setlist: No Bad News Tonight, None Like You, Summer Jams, Half a World, Handed Love, Groundhog Day, Tiptoe, Riley, Constance, I Don’t Wanna Go, Kill My Blues, Joey, Neskowin, Doubt. Encore: Three Minute Hero (The Selecter cover).

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(Above: A view from the front row as Jane’s Addiction rock the Uptown Theater in Kansas City, Mo., on March 16, 2012.)

By Joel Francis
The Kansas City Star

As the epic “Ted, Just Admit It …” gradually unraveled, the vintage ’50s video footage grew more disturbing. As two lingerie-clad dancers worked their corner of the stage, films of old stripteases graduated to spanking, bondage and S&M, reinforcing the chorus of “sex is violent.”

After “Ted” ended, Jane’s Addiction frontman Perry Farrell urged the audience to do the Twist, singing a few bars of the famous song and demonstrating the dance. Those two moments captured the essence of the late-’80s alt-rock quartet: sexy, intense, sleazy and silly. And loud.Farrell and his fellow founding band members — shirtless guitar god Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins — and longtime bass stand-in Chris Chaney rocked a comfortably crowded Uptown Theater for 90 minutes on Friday.

The 15-song setlist leaned heavily and appropriately on the two classic albums Jane’s released during its original incarnation, 1988’s “Nothing’s Shocking” and 1990’s “Ritual de lo Habitual.” The band has reformed several times since originally calling it quits in 1991 after the first incarnation of Farrell’s Lollapalooza tour. The four songs from last year’s “The Great Escape Artist” acquitted themselves well alongside the longtime favorites. “Just Because,” the lone song performed from 2003’s “Strays,” was easily the weakest performance of the night.

Although the band occupied a smaller stage than its appearance at Livestrong Sporting Park last summer, it still piled on the theatrics and visuals. Three screens showed recycled and found video footage. Two women in skimpy attire danced on a small stage atop one of the screens at stage left and took sultry strolls through the musicians. During “Twisted Tales,” a man in all white hanged and destroyed baby dolls before ultimately hanging himself. A large sculpture of two naked women loomed over everything above the drum kit at center stage.

Despite everything happening onstage, the music easily overpowered everything else. For “Classic Girl” and “Jane Says,” the band set up in an intimate corner at stage right. During “Jane Says,” Navarro strummed his acoustic guitar from the edge of the stage, legs dangling. For “Chip Away,” everyone except Farrell pounded huge drums. Both “Stop!” and “Been Caught Stealing” featured a little sonic experimentation in the middle sections.

Farrell didn’t need to do much to get the crowd involved. The teased intro to “Jane Says” fooled no one, and as expected the number quickly turned into the biggest sing-along of the night. The fans were also impressive during the a cappella bridge in “Stop!” while “Mountain Song” provided the earliest opportunity for everyone to throw their lungs toward the stage.

Both “Ted” and “Three Days” spanned more than 10 minutes. While the former framed the mood of the night, the later captured the band at peak form. Perkins was at the center of the performance. As a psychedelic light show encircled his kit, Perkins’ drumming held the song together. Later in the number, Navarro delivered one of his best and flashiest solos of the night. Although Chaney didn’t play on the original recording, his thick bassline propelled the song.

More than two decades removed from their original heyday, there may not be anything shocking in Jane’s world anymore, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t still a lot of fun.

Setlist: Underground, Mountain Song, Just Because, Been Caught Stealing, Ain’t No Right, Ted, Just Admit It…, Twisted Tales, Classic Girl, Jane Says, Chip Away, End to the Lies, Three Days, Stop! Encore: Words Right Out of My Mouth, Whores.

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