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Published: 2012/01/18
by Bill McAlaine

Jerry Joseph and The Jackmormons, Dante’s, Portland, OR – 12/31

Once again, Jerry Joseph returned home with the Jackmormons consisting of; Jerry, Junior Ruppel, Steve Drizos, and my favorite angel, Jenny Conlee-Drizos, for their annual NYE run. There were four shows played at four different venues over the weekend. Unfortunately I missed the first, but surely arrived for the second and rest on 12/30/11. I could write endlessly about my times and the music over these days, but I am going to focus here on the New Years Eve show at Dante’s. I arrived at Dante’s and was immediately greeted by the many familiar faces, which are a big part of what draws me back to this band all the time The folks that have been seeing this band forever and travel from all parts of the country for these “special” shows. The gathering in PDX was phenomenal and the vibe was on. I took the advice of my friends and musician friends to get there early and check out the opening act, I Can Lick Any Son of a Bitch in the House. I know, I know, but these guys kill it. They are about as down home hard rock as it gets. I hate to draw comparisons, but these guys are a lot like the Truckers on speed. A great fit to start this show and the crowd really dug it.

During the break between the opener and Jackmormons, I walked around and reconnected with the many friends I had around me. I couldn’t be with a better group of people seeing any better music. We were all very anxious for what lay ahead. Soon enough Jerry and Co were on stage….

The band came out and with very little tuning broke into “She’s Going Out,” which immediately shook the cobwebs off and destroyed any hangover which was lingering from the previous nights. The newer and very appropriate “Radio Cab” came next. Based on the well known Portland cab company this song has really grown on me and is currently in my top 10 list. “Kicking Hong Kong” came next keeping the rhythm and a more mellow vibe that would be unique to the night. Jerry’s “Second Skin” reared its head next and brought me back to that hard rocking garage band feel that underlies the sound of this band. Jerry’s original version kicks the feet out from under any WSP version that I have heard. They closed the first set with “Revolution.” This brought the crowd back to a medium level and left us in great anticipation of what was to come.

A couple weeks earlier JJ had posted on all his social networks that there would be a special NYE set with the Paul Brainard Horns. I like any other JMOS fan had speculated what these guys would play with horns. As we tried to maintain excitement, our friend and promoter/organizer of the weekend, Frank Rinaldi, came out to count us down into the New Year. 3..2..1….Happy New Year!!!! The horns broke into “Auld Lang Syne” and sure enough a nine piece Jackmormons evolved on stage, including Mr Steven James Wright on guitar and Michael Lewis on vocals and guitars. The energy was
through the roof and the band felt it for sure. They opened up with the newer “Mile High Mile Deep.” You could tell from the start that this was a special incarnation of this band. the sound was so full. A first time played rendition of Billy Preston’s “That the Way God Planned it,” ensued next and was our first New Years gift. They kept the energy flowing into the better know “Fastest Horse in Town”: “How do you like me now!” Awesome. My favorite, well one of my favorite songs of the set popped up in the form of “Criminals in My Closet.” By far my favorite version of this song and I, like everyone around me couldn’t stop dancing. Jerry and co then came out with their newest song and 1st time played, “Temple of Love.” Though none of us had ever heard it, it breathed a certain familiarity that just fit right in. After that it was back to the oldies with “Chainsaw City.” “No bad vibes!” Thanks and Praises couldn’t have been more appropriate as we all started a new year together and thanked our lucky stars that we were here doing what we were doing. Things slowed down for a second and the slow vocals and rhythmic rifts of Boss Man Piss came out and led us into the super strong and fun set closer “Savage Garden” proving that tonight Jerry was truly the “Fukkin King of the Disco!”

As the band left the stage for one more short break. We tried to recollect through hugs and cheering. Sure enough the new nine piece came back out. At this moment Jerry payed homage to our many fallen friends with a song written for his father whom had passed just over a year ago. I understood and welcomed this vibe as my mother had just passed away three months prior. As we all knew a low note was no way to go out, so Jerry put down his guitar and the band broke into our last first time ever yet old school jam, “Let’s Get it On” by none other than the late great Marvin Gaye. The emotion pouring out of Jerry was unbelievable and put a smile on any and every face in the house. WOW! “Climb to Safety” came out of this and brought us all together for a sing along. We all rejoiced together with an a cappella sing-along between Jerry & the crowd, “After all that I’ve been through you’re the only one that matters…” So much fun. As Jerry thanked the crowd, the horns closed it down with an “Auld Lang Syne” reprise. What a night, what a weekend, What a Year! No better place to spend it then with this crew. Thanks Jerry, Thanks Junior, Thanks Steve, Thanks Jenny, and thanks to the many others that made this a special weekend.

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