Porno for Pyros Forever – LA Weekly


Porno for Pyros Forever: It felt like, when Perry Farrell’s Porno for Pyros were around first time round between ’93 and ’98, fans and critics spent much of the time comparing the group to Jane’s Addiction and clamoring for a reunion of that band. Time can do funny things to musical legacies though, and when Porno for Pyros announced a return to action around the start of this decade, it was deservedly greeted as the thrilling news that it was.

There are parallels to JA though. Porno for Pyros also released two albums and then bowed out. They had hits — like real, mainstream, top of Billboard hits — but quit before they could be accused of milking it. Most importantly, P4P were and are a really great fucking band.

The gig at the Belasco in Downtown L.A. on Thursday night felt much more like an event than a regular concert. In some ways, it recalled the glorious underground celebration that was early Lollapalooza, Jim Rose Circus Sideshow and all.

The stage and indeed the crowd was a glorious sea of drag queens and assorted dancers. Men on stilts with oversized guitars. Angels. Devils. The night was dubbed Heaven After Dark, and the MC for the evening told us that it is indeed a little slice of heaven. It certainly felt like that, and that was a much needed feeling in the wake of the Supreme Court’s recent horseshit, plus COVID, Trump and everything else. Heaven will do just fine thank you Perry.

The lineup was perfection too. Frankie & the Witch Fingers‘ swampy power-pop is both wonderfully dense and super-infectious. There’s a big reason people have been paying attention to them of late.

There’s also a deserved buzz surrounding Starcrawler and, despite suffering with some technical glitches on Thursday, they were still able to shine. Their covers — Roger Alan Wade’s “If You’re Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta Be Tough” and the Ramones’ “Pet Sematary” — are perfect choices. But their own tunes, notably “Goodtime Girl” and “I Love LA” are better. Caustic slices of nasty rock & roll, fronted by Arrow Des Wilde who manages to channel Mick Jagger, Iggy Pop, Wendy O. Williams and Michael Monroe at the same time.

Perry Farrell was on double duty on Thursday, bringing out his Kind Heaven Orchestra first. As with Satellite Party, KHO sees Farrell working with his wife Etty Lau Farrell and it’s super-sweet because the pair are still very clearly giddy over each other. When Etty sings “I Drove All Night,” made famous by both Cyndi Lauper and Roy Orbison, Farrell points out that she used to play it when driving to his house for a “Booty call” while they were dating.

(Brett Callwood)

The whole event is a collaboration between the two of them, with Farrell saying in a statement, “After the extraordinary results of the inaugural concert, working alongside Etty on this blossoming event series unified the art community. We reigniting the powers of curiosity, and expression through the use of visual and auditory art. The public craves truth ((Unified smirks)).”

Etty would reappear as one of two backing vocalists with Porno for Pyros. But really, attention is on the classic lineup of this band. And by god, they let nobody down. The song with the same name as the band opens proceedings and it sounds immense. The eastern vibe is still there — the band blends mysticism with a devilish quality that can sound celebratory and sinister in sync. It’s a wonder, and they’ve lost none of it.

“Cursed Female” was followed by “Cursed Male,” and before long we were treated to global hit “Pets.” The Belasco crowd sang every word with gusto, Farrell grinning from ear to ear. Former Guns N’ Roses man Gilby Clarke joined the band to jam on “Bad Shit,” and they finished with “Tahitian Moon.”

Following years of Jane’s Addiction’s on-again-off-again activity, Porno for Pyros was the reunion that we didn’t really know we wanted. We know now.



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