Friday, July 15, 2011

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts @ Coney Island

Joan Jett & the Blackhearts; Girl in a Coma
@ Coney Island
Brooklyn, NY - July 14, 2011

You wouldn't think it going in, but the Battle of Brooklyn played itself out at the free Joan Jett concert in Coney Island. After 32 years in a nice park, Borough President Marty Markowitz's concert series had to relocate to a concrete parking lot to appease angry locals of a religious sort. But now the concert series basks in the glory of the Parachute Jump, and the new ball park, and the landmarked Childs restaurant, and all the back-and-forth of the Warriors' old playground. A gallery of old natives, Pratt school hipsters, over-the-hill tramps drunkenly cursing out Marty, washed-up scuzz, and plain ol' families populated the parking lot. When an old native put his finger into the face of a phoning-it-in fake gutterpunk blocking his view and cramping his space, I thought Do The Right Thing 2011 Edition was about to break out.

Marty Markowitz himself helped showcase the disconnect in New York's multi-cultural melange when (among other things he's done over the last couple of years) he introduced "Rick Russo" from "WRKP" when he actually meant RicH Russo from WRXP which, unknown to Marty, was going off air this very day. The bittersweet mood from those who knew of the demise of the last non-classic rock station on the main dial in New York, emanated from the crowd. Who would sing up for those without a voice? Who would release the battle cry of those who like their rock n roll pure, independent, spirited, and unadulterated? Joan Jett, that's who.

Though she was friendly and even (sort of) sweet, Joan Jett, at 53 - in studded leather attire - is still intimidating. With her ice black hair, iron arms, working class accent, and of course her domination of all-things rock n roll, she is still a force to be reckoned with, even if the Blackhearts play a little bit slower than their heyday.

The open secret of Joan Jett and the Blackhearts is that they are, in some respects, a covers band. They pay tribute to those before and along side of them. But Joan's ability to make songs her own quickly makes one forget that tidbit. With exceptions like "Bad Reputation" (the opener tonight), "I Hate Myself For Loving You" (the closer tonight), and "Love is Pain", it certainly seems that most of the canon is indeed from a canon. Even "I Love Rock n Roll", her anthem that has Joan in the rock n roll history books, is a cover of the band Arrows. Songs spanning the history of rock n roll - Sly and the Family Stone, Tommy James and the Shondells, the Stooges, the Sweet, the Replacements - all re-done and made anew by Joan Jett. And for good measure, she threw a couple of Runaways songs in there too.

When all was said and done, Joan Jett tore Coney Island up. There was a peace because of it. And a realization. The Battle of Brooklyn is on going but at least we're all in the fight together.

Girl in a Coma, the band named after Morrissey song, who I once saw open for Moz, and on the Blackhearts label, are exactly as I remember: well-meaning but just not doing anything for me.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

<< Home