[Metroactive Music]

[ Music Index | Metro | Metroactive Central | Archives ]

Pagan Power

Jane's Addiction unleashes ENIT Festival in San Francisco

By Sarah Quelland

San Francisco, Nov. 22: The pagan music festival known as ENIT, set to burn all night, opens at 9pm at the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium. Early on, people mill about the multilevel hall trying to find the elusive cool spot in one of the many "rooms" that make up the spectacle.

Choices include the main stage with Funky Tekno Tribe or the ResFest and Raktavasa rooms on the first floor. Many fans hike up to the fourth floor to check out Ken Kesey & the Merry Pranksters, the Jam room, the Beach room and the Genie room.

The black-and-silver flier describes ENIT as "an inter-planetary festival celebrating cosmic peace and sexuality." The idea is based on Cosmophilosophy, German UFO author Ludwig Pallmann's concept that by understanding our evolutionary destiny it will be possible to "stop this race of hatred and turn it to love." Perry Farrell, freaky front man for Jane's Addiction and creator of Lollapalooza, is slowly pushing Pallman's idea into the mainstream through his latest music explosion.

ENIT's main draw is Addiction's self-stated "relapse" tour. But with the band taking the stage at midnight, people have plenty of time to wander.

Cosmic Cool

The Kesey room is the first to pique my interest. I duck past the tie-dyed sheet covering the doorway and enter a day-glo paradise decorated with blacklit psychedelic art, including orange and green Dali clock sculptures. People decorate themselves with body paint and lounge on beanbag chairs. It's all too cosmically cool.

I seek out other hot spots. The sexual energy of the Raktavasa room pulls me in. People with antlers and tails roam the crowd. Half-naked women embodying female sexuality and motherhood perform languidly while other women explore sex through provocative dance movements and electric poetry that shrieks and rips through the audience.

Back at the main stage, Goldie is up. Some people dig the booming jungle-trance techno sound, but most are positioning themselves for Jane's Addiction. After Goldie, Kesey and the Pranksters screen an intense series of disturbing images.

Among these are footage from the Kennedy assassination, including a rare close-up of Kennedy's dead head (which undoubtedly causes more than one bad trip in the audience) interlaced with images from the movie Ruby, Boris and Natasha cartoons, footage of Martin Luther King Jr. and live scenes from throughout the auditorium.

The old-timers begin a chant that becomes more frenzied and more powerful as the images whirl by. They blend time, merge the past and present and close with a mournful version of "Let the Sun Shine In." As they walk off the stage, one member shouts, "Let's rock this joint!"

Just Admit It

Enter Jane's Addiction to much cheering. Farrell walks out wearing a dress and looking like a tweaked-out Pippi Longstocking with peacock feathers in his hair. Giant tropical flowers, parasols and topless erotic dancers grace the stage.

The band opens with "Oceansize," but it's not until "Stop!" that the crowd gets really fired up. By now, Farrell has stripped down to a body-hugging powder-blue vinyl crop top and minishorts with black tights and high Docs. He's looking androgynously fetching, and it's obvious he's feeling hot tonight.

Always the exhibitionist, Farrell grooves with the crowd, thriving on the energy. Tonight, he's not only a performer; he's a host determined not to disappoint. Moving between three stages, Farrell connects with the audience. From a tiki-styled stage, the band performs a Caribbean-flavored version of the ever-classic "Jane Says."

One of the highlights is a new song that's amazing live. Dave Navarro, Stephen Perkins and Flea form a drum circle while Farrell sings. The energy is so palpable that by the end the band members are smiling and laughing with each other.

On "Ted, Just Admit It," however, they are upstaged by two sex kittens clad in white vinyl boots doing an acrobatic erotic pole dance destined to become legendary. Even Farrell's devilish screaming and screeching of the infectious "Sex. Is. Violent." doesn't compare with the show going on above him. The dancers seemingly slide effortlessly up and down a tall pole holding each other in impossible positions.

On that note, the band takes its leave but unpredictably returns for a sweet last song, finishing the set with "I Would for You." They end the show with smiles and a huge group hug that delights the fans. Farrell bids farewell by saying, "Joint's open all night!" And the party rages until the wee hours of the morning with Funky Tekno Tribe.

[ Metro | Metroactive Central | Archives ]

Web exclusive to the Nov. 26-Dec. 3, 1997 issue of Metro.

Copyright © Metro Publishing Inc. Maintained by Boulevards New Media.