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Published: 2003/05/18
by Wilson Brooks

Jerry Joseph and The Jackmormons, North By Northwest, Philadelphia, PA- 5/10

Jerry Joseph is one of my favorite songwriters and performers, and NXNW is a
small club with a nice PA, so for me this loomed as a fine convergence of venue and artist.

I didn’t leave my house till 7PM, due to many other things that needed to
get done. The girl who had answered the phone at NXNW said there was no
opener, and JMOS was to go on at 10PM. I set a new personal record for
Arlington, Va to the Maryland/Delaware line, and arrived in Northwest Philly
at 9:20. Noticed that the city was rather "fragrant" while I was crossing
the Schuykill River, not sure whether it was the humid weather or Bush’s
tough new environmental initiatives. Found NXNW and got inside with my gear
by 9:40. Everybody at the club was polite and helpful, and they also have
fine cuisine on the menu. With a little help from a friend who was patching
out of me, everything was set up and patched for my board/audience matrix in
plenty of time. Colin, the Jackmormons’ soundguy/tour manager, even patched
in his deck, something I always take as a compliment. Still had a few
minutes, and had the opportunity to meet and pet the owner’s pooch, who was
making a brief visit out in back of the club. The owner of NXNW is a fellow
dog lover and a sweet lady, and made a one time exception which allowed me
to put my dog Samson out on the back patio once the kitchen closed, where he
received much attention, as well as some treats and a constantly full bowl
of water during the evening. He is also briefly heard barking from the
doorway while the band was tuning, between Fastest Horse and Election Day
during the second set, but overall he was quiet, well behaved, and stayed
out back till after the show so that no health codes were broken. He had a
great time! By the end of the night when everyone had left and the band was
tearing down, he was asleep on the floor in the club. He has also slept most
of the time since we left to come home, and is a big fan of any road trip
where I can safely take him along.

The band took the stage at about 10:25 and quickly turned the show into a
hard driving rock and roll event. Pre-show tuning turned loud and segued
into Mary, Star Of The Sea, and they didn’t stop playing till after they
were four songs into the set. A tune called Hallelujah Train followed, one
that I don’t remember ever having heard before. The 1st set finished strong,
with Spanish Bombs>Back In The Hole. The band took a break after that.

The 2nd set opened with Ten Killer Fairies. Before playing this one
Jerry explained to the audience that he doesn’t play the song as
much as he used to because telling the story behind the song takes a couple
minutes. Then he told the story, about an entire Mexican family that was
murdered by narco-fascist drug traffickers, and played Ten Killer Fairies,
in it’s always haunting style. Brad Rosen has an intense way of hitting the
snare towards the end of the song that sounds like machine-gun fire, and
totally gets me every time, just chilling the way the band puts it all
together. Chrome Koran is also a favorite of mine, and was next. A few songs
later, Jerry brought up J. Pat, who recently toured with Jerry and Dave
Schools in Europe, and Jerry explained that J. Pat had started out as the
opening act, but wound up playing with them at all of the shows for the rest
of the tour. Then they proceeded to play Chainsaw City, and J. Pat added a
new twist to the band’s sound that I really like. Jerry also seemed to enjoy
trading licks with him quite a bit, and he stayed for the remainder of the
show. The band played right up till closing time, and the show neared three
hours in total length. Well worth the trip, and also worth taking the the nap
to follow which will enable me to recover.

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