When this release was recorded at the Roxy in 1987, Jane's Addiction had not yet become the icons of alternative rock culture they would soon become. The L.A. band's unorthodox fusion of hard rock, dark Velvet Underground-ish imagery and stream-of-consciousness art rock wasn't as focused or confident as it would be on their commanding latter releases. Regardless, the band showed considerable potential. As erratic and self-indulgent as this set gets, many of the songs are quite irreplaceable. Lead singer/composer Perry Farrell was always fascinated with the dark side of the human psyche, and that fascination is quite evident in 'Pigs in Zen', 'Whores', and the timeless rock favorite 'Jane Says'.
It may have taken until 1991 for punk to break as a commercial form, but the genre was hardly new. In that story, even Jane's Addiction were latecomers to the revolution. But it was the frenzied trailblazing rock of this quirky Los Angeles quartet that made the later successes of Nirvana, etc. somehow inevitable. In this recording of a hometown club gig, Jane's offer raw versions of songs that would appear in a more refined form on their debut album, along with a dubious cover of "Sympathy for the Devil." Hear a noticeably younger and shriller Perry Farrell while guitarist Dave Navarro plays out his Jimmy Page dreams across a punk canvas the rest of the world would soon discover. --Steve Appleford