Report: JSBX Live in Portland

August 18 at the Wonder Ballroom, Jon,
Juday and Russell tore the place apart. Maybe literally, even.


By Tim Hinely

It had been 20
years (nearly to the day) that I first saw the JSBX climb on a stage (Khyber
Pass in Philly) and nearly that long since the last time I had seen them play (maybe
mid to later 90’s) so of course I had my reservations about this gig. I had
heard they put on a tremendous set at the Matador 21 festival last year so that
gave me hope and I have to say, I was curious. All reservations were set aside
when Spencer and Co. (same guys, Judah Bauer on guitar and Russell Simins on
drums) hit the stage and began to tear the place apart (ok, not literally).
Spencer is still the crazed, howling frontman (the opposite of his shy demeanor
off stage) and is still equal parts James Brown, Mick Jagger and Elvis Presley.
Huffing, puffing, sweating and waving his hand like some crazed dirt preacher
while Simins (a very big man behind a very small drum kit) pounds away as if
his life depended on it and Bauer, the laid-back one, grinds out dirty riffage
while looking cool as a cucumber. 


Spencer still
works the crowd like a magician, the crowd, in this case, was a mix of  old geezers like me who had caught the band
back in their heyday and young ‘uns mesmerized by the band’s charm (and
kick-ass tunes).  They played for nearly
90 minutes and barely stopped to take a breath. We heard it all: “Afro” ,”Shirt
Jac”, “Hey Mom”,  “Attack”, “Fuck Shit
Up” and plenty more. He worked his trusty theremin too and at that point, had
the crowd eating out of his greasy palms. I’m proud to say, they’ve still got





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