Jane’s Addiction are happier than pigs in zen as they blow our minds at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom, the local brew working its magic as they cause a near riot by strolling back on stage for an almighty encore after lights up.


But first up tonight is Humanist, the solo project of former Exit Calm guitarist Rob Marshall, this remarkable songwriter, composer, producer and guitarist’s work both cathartic and timeless, offering flickers of light in darkness and comfort in desolation. Marshall co-wrote numerous tracks on the late, great Mark Lanegan’s Gargoyle and Somebody’s Knocking, while also working on his own project, Humanist. With guest appearances from artists including Dave Gahan, Mark Gardener, Isobel Campbell, John Robb and Peter Hayes on Humanist’s self-titled 2020 album and up-and-coming release On The Edge Of A Lost And Lonely World, the music is a feast for fans of the darker wave of post-punk. 

But tonight it’s the striking intones of Jimmy Gnecco (Ours) and James Cox (Crows) that provide the vocal honours, each voice poles apart but equally crushing, allowing Marshall’s gloom-stained masterstrokes to flourish unrestrained, his incendiary textured guitar moves practically making my fingers come out in sympathy bleeds. Wendy Ray Fowler broods shamelessly on bass and with the dress code strictly black with a touch of black, Marshall’s ex-bandmate, drummer Scott Pemberton, rebels with some cheerful white spots on his shirt. Go Scott!

The whole ensemble captivates, there’s so much to observe. Gnecco growls and scowls on opening track Beast Of The Nation, originally sung by Mark Lanegan, the legendary singer’s presence lingering through the dry ice. Gnecco plays the rock star cool like Iggy Pop meets an early day Bono, chewing gum like his life depends upon it, grappling with the mic stand and brimming with so much pent up anger it looks like he might jump over the barrier and start a fight. Glorious! Meanwhile, Cox asserts his rock cool with more nonchalance, his fiery attitude shining through nevertheless, wowing the crowd on the hypnotic atmospherics of This Holding Pattern, which he also performs on the new release.

Marshall’s songs are steeped in a refreshing sincerity, and you get the feeling that he has no choice but to wear his tattered heart on his sleeve, the therapeutic perks of music never to be underestimated. Chatting to him earlier, he admitted that music is everything to him and he was lost until he had it in his life, a guiding light through the dark times. Tonight he practically sweats the emotions through his skin as he plays, visibly moved with the release his music offers him, providing respite from the ravages of life. 

Rob Marshall | Humanist

Shock Collar (which featured Depeche Mode’s Dave Gahan on the first album) is divine, tonight shimmering against the aching tension which lingers though Cox and Gneccos’ vocals. Ending with a savage take on English Ghosts, originally recorded with The Membranes’ John Robb, each member of the band give every inch of themselves, with faces purpling, sweat flying and my heart racing in fear that Marshall might actually lose a finger or even combust!

The performance is sublime and I feel like I need a lie down….I mean, the evening really can’t get any better. But wait, isn’t Jane’s Addiction hanging about backstage?

Humanist’s new album On The Edge Of A Lost And Lonely World is out on 26 July on Bella Union.


Jane’s Addiction shook up the LA music scene in the late ‘80s, tearing up the established rules of rock by cooking up a salty surf of punk-funk, metal, glam and psychedelia, delivered under the beguiling though somewhat cartoonish charms of vocalist Perry Farrell, co-founder/bassist Eric Avery, guitarist Dave Navarro and drummer Stephen Perkins. Plagued by personal tragedies and unified by a love of the visual arts and music, their lyrics and lives intertwined until that old sex, drugs ‘n’ alcohol carousel spun out of control, the band calling it a day in 1991, a year after the release of second studio album Ritual De Lo Habitual. Bloody typical, eh? But, alas, they did pave the way for a deluge of ‘90s alt-rock bands, with Farrell also co-founding the Lollapalooza travelling festival which in turn helped these artists flourish. 

Reforming several times in different guises over the years, a question mark hung over the line up for the 2024 tour after long covid overstayed its welcome with Navarro, his appearance in doubt until he strolled onto the stage of their warm-up gig at London’s Bush Hall last week, the original crew back together for first time in 14 years. Result!

Tonight any pre-conceived ideas of tension between the band evaporate when they take to the stage under the rolling waves of Up The Beach, and on second number Whores it becomes clear that these guys are well and truly up for it, more corrosive, carnival and perhaps even carnal than we could have dreamed of after all these years…though we’re spared the cavorting, caged bodies this time round.

Driven by an energy that’s nothing short of electric, the set is shamelessly heavy, for the main part featuring songs from their first three albums. Navarro rampages through an assault course of guitar heaven as he straddles and shreds, drills and thrills, the epitome of old school rock cool. Looking every bit the lone crusader under his feathered fedora, he soon disrobes in favour of his trusty taps aff get up, gloriously inked and embellished in black eyeliner, a feast for the eyes and ears of anyone lucky enough to be standing front left of the stage tonight. Avery is slung as low as the sound he transmits, and engages with the audience from the outset, egging them on and clearly adoring every minute as he holds the onslaught together with Perkins’ drums, weaving through a mix of melody and turmoil with majestic ease. As for Perkins, it’s clear that there’s no where else he’d rather be, abandoning his drum kit at the end of the show to momentarily resemble a stage crasher, bouncing around in a, dare I say, kilt. Look, I’ll let you off this time, Stephen, just because you look so darned proud and have balanced the look with a fine Assai Records t-shirt.

Farrell takes a glug from a bottle of wine, asking us what time we had our first drink today before proudly proclaiming that he had beans and a pint for breakfast. Nice. In a shady poncho, he slinks the stage precariously for the first few numbers, one minute caped villain with that sordid glint in his eye, the next a joyful, appreciative frontman, nodding and smiling to each and every one of us like a proud parent at a flaky school nativity. He still radiates a spiritual energy, his vocals remaining unique in they way they unnerve and enthral, the crowd helping him reach the high notes like good disciples should.

Dropping the poncho to reveal a more dapper attire, he shifts from fragile to agile, practically convulsing as he attacks his vocal modulator, zapping about the stage, those old punk-laced moves in full swing on numbers like Pigs In Zen, Stop, Ocean Size and new number Imminent Redemption, a growling, bass-drenched belter, Farrell’s vocal stronger, the band reinvigorated, filling the crowd with excitement for a possible new album. Using his Pigs soliloquy to consider Donald Trump’s position of power and his repulsive crimes against women, he positively simmers at the hypocrisy which surrounds the politics of his country, a reminder that the band have never been afraid to broach social issues. Of course, most here tonight are already aware of his prescient ponderings on Ted, Just Admit It, from Nothing’s Shocking, tonight eerily pensive as he contemplates the media’s reaction to ’80’s serial killer Ted Bundy, a sardonic funk lurking sinisterly beneath his commentary, the crowd joining him in chants of “nothing’s shocking” and “sex is violent”, the number as relevant now as it was back in 1988, a year prior to Bundy’s execution. 

Perry Farrell

Farrell’s back talking alcohol, the band tonight enjoying local produce like the Joker IPA which Avery is drinking, with the caveat that if the next song sucks, don’t drink it…hmm, unlikely. Reminiscing about the days when they were “champions of drugs and alcohol”, he introduces Jane Says, one of their biggest tracks about that time in their lives, the crowd elated and singing along word for word with Farell’s tender intones, which tip-toe longingly atop Navarro’s ambient strums and Perkin’s steely drums. Intoxicating! Another of the highlights for me is the bittersweet force of Then She Did…, off 1990’s Ritual De Lo Habitual, tonight the sound a full-bodied, potent spiritual brew, delivered over a beguiling brood of bass as Farrell reflects on his mother’s death. We’re stirred by his almost child-like vocals which build from barely a whisper to the crowd-led wails of “Hey, oh”, Navarro’s cinematic, sombre swathes raising the roof before creeping off into the unsettling darkness once more, casting an almost celestial aura over the ballroom. 

There’s a bit of confusion as Farrell and Navarro disappear off stage after Stop. Maybe Navarro’s got a bit mascara stuck in his eye, which can be seriously distracting, but even Avery stands with arms wide, wondering what’s going on. Hmm, then again this could be their fun way of inducing an encore… Alas they wander back on with a massive attack of Mountain Song, hope restored once more. The much anticipated Three Days begins its journey with Avery’s deliciously mournful baseline, the live proposition monstrous and quite astonishing. Farrell’s fragile rasps unfurl as melody and melancholy meet with a touch of menace, Navarro’s frenzied offensives stirring up the audience before he once more gives way to a serenity and space, allowing the tribal drums to roam exposed. Epic.

And that’s it, the lights are up, Perkins breaks free of his drums, and after a mighty applause, everyone starts heading for the door. That’s when the tricksters stroll back on with the ambient lounge of Thank you Boys. After a near crush and mad dash towards the front, it’s thank you boys indeed as Farrell finds his groove for one last time, the manic funk of Been Caught Stealing sweeping through the ballroom, their biggest hit on the lost art of shoplifting. And although it’s been a very special evening, it’s over. Just like that.

Words: Shirley Mack @musingsbymarie
Pictures: Calum Mackintosh@ayecandyphotography