The Panic Channel @ The Independent (6/6/06)

Kevin Keating
Back in the day, I'll say I appreciated their music, but I wasn't a huge fan of Jane's Addiction until I heard "Three Days" on their massively popular Ritual De Lo Habitual album released in 1990. At the time, I had just bought a brand-spanking new Ibanez bass guitar and remember hearing that opening bass line and thinking to myself... 'this band rocks!' I soon discovered their 1988 album, Nothing Shocking, and then fell in love with the throbbing bass line in "Mountain Song." Considering I didn't have my driver's license yet, I was a bit challenged to see the band perform live. I also missed the inaugral 1991 Lollapalooza festival which coincidentally featured a 20-minute set from my favorite band, Nine Inch Nails. Basically, the band that *was* Jane's Addiction broke-up shortly after the release of Ritual... Perry Farrell, the lead singer, decided to focus the majority of his time on the annual Lollapalooza festival which he initially spear-headed, and the rest of the band went their separate ways. Later, Perry and Jane's drummer, Steve Perkins, formed the band Porno for Pyros, but left both guitarist, Dave Navarro, and bassist, Eric Avery, to find other work.

So where am I going with all this? Having missed my chances to see Jane's Addiction perform live over the past 15 years, I finally had a chance to catch what seemed to be my only chance to see the new incarnation of what could be the closest thing to the original Jane's... The Panic Channel, featuring 3 of the 4 original Jane's Addiction members; and replacing the unreplacable Perry Farrell, Steve Isaacs on vocals. Actually, Eric Avery (the original JA bassist was replaced with Chris Chaney who is the current Panic Channel bassist.)

Anyway, if you're keeping up with all this, I was just a little excited to check out the show at such a small venue like San Francisco's 'The Independent.' And I guess I should know better by now, but my expectations were just set too high. Don't get me wrong, the show was good, and there were moments of true 'Jane's Addiction' brilliance, but without Perry Farrell on vocals, the Panic Channel just can't compete.

Am I missing the point? Should I compare the two bands? It's hard not to, but OK, I'll give it a try!

To me, the Panic Channel came across as just another manufactured pop-rock band on a warm-up tour getting ready to promote a major label album release later this summer/fall that I'm sure will deliver a modern rock track for mainstream alt-rock radio. Let me stress, that at moments during their performance, there were glimpses of greatness by either Dave Navarro or Chris Chaney or Steve Perkins... But the vocals by Isaacs... Oh my... I think the best comparison I can make is that of a cross between Robert Plant and Sebastian Bach (of the 80's hair-metal band Skid Row.) The guy was just trying too hard to sound like the rockers of yester-year... And it didn't work.

My advice (if you're asking) is to catch the band if: tickets are cheap (or better yet, free), you're hoping to get a chance to see Carmen Electra in the flesh (I didn't see her in SF, but maybe she'll come to your town,) or if you're just a die-hard -- and I mean *die-hard* -- fan of Dave Navarro. If any of those conditions are true, I'm sure you'll have a good time. If not, stay home and throw on American Idol.

#buttons=(Ok, Go it!) #days=(20)

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