Jon Spencer Blues Explosion / Delta 72 / CBGB/ September 28, 1996

The line of fans stretched around the block to see jon Spencer Blues Explosion on this pleasant Sunday evening in New York. Those lucky enough to get inside had to fight their way through the pit area for close-up glimpses. One girl fought dehydration brought on by intense heat while others waited for the charitable two-hour Blues Explosion set to end in order to get to the downstairs bathrooms.

Perched above a two-foot platform fronting the main right speaker behind three lovely women, I sweat through Delta 72’s white soul confections anxiously awaiting the Blues Explosion. Guitarist-singer Jon Spencer thrilled the packed crowd with his friendly demeanor, playful kitsch, and assertive axe wielding. His lips pressed against the mike as he leaned back to sing crusty metallic blues-rockers, swampy rockabilly raveups, offbeat R & B, and countrified soul.

A dozen testosterone-fueled motherfuckers in front of the stage proved to be somewhat hazardous during slamming jams such as the scorching Skunk,” the hook-crazed “Bellbottoms,” and the Rufus Thomas shuffler “Chicken Dog.” But the bassless trio kept piling on dramatic intensity, pausing only to take a short break before an extended encore enveloped by “The Blues Explosion Theme.”

Second guitarist Russell Simins and drummer Judah Bauer never wavered, providing the GQ-looking Spencer with solid support throughout. Impressive! Fans should also check out their latest recording, Now I Got Worry.

Led by steely-eyed, acrobatic guitar slinger, Gregg Foreman, DC quartet Delta 72 ground out a tenacious soul-drenched groove with fine results. Foreman’s raw-throated assertions were colored by Sarah Stolfa’s persistent Farfisa beat, drummer Jason Kourkounis’ busy stick work, and Kim Thompson’s Replacements-ripped bass thump. By mixing ruptured instrumental frenzies with zombie-like meditations, Delta 72 did a wonderful job supporting Spencer’s headliners.

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