It’s a rare occurrence to see Perry Farrell do an intimate concert. His Kind Heaven Orchestra show on Tuesday night at The Mod Club Theatre was a thrilling romp through his most recent album by the same name, peppered with highlights from his back catalogue from (previous) bands Jane’s Addiction and Porno for Pyros.
Perry Ferrell was instrumental in bringing alternative music to the masses via Lollapalooza festival, which he masterminded. While I never got to experience that festival, I did catch Farrell with Jane’s Addiction about 10 years ago when he played the Molson Amphitheatre with Nine Inch Nails as part of the NIN/JA tour.
This Kind Heaven Orchestra concert in Toronto was Farrell’s 12th North American date on the tour that’s followed by another dozen dates in Europe.
Considering the peak of his commercial success was in the early ’90s, it’s not surprising that the crowd comprised mainly of a late-40s and and older set. I felt like I was one of the youngest in attendance. Judging by fans’ t-shirts, Farrell’s influence is wide and varied: Buzzcocks, The Church, Kid Rock, Rolling Stones, The Lemon Twigs, The Cult, The Offspring.
Lead single Pirate Punk Politician started off the energetic set, which saw Farrell in fine form – also in very stylish form, with lots of flamboyant flare, including red leather elbow-length gloves, a black open vest, a poufy black-and-white single-sleeved blouse, huge sombrero-like hat and some frilly bits dangling around his neck. Only someone like Perry Farrell could pull off an outfit like that and get away with it with such panache.
Farrell was front-and-centre throughout, but his wife Etty almost stole the show a few times, trading vocals and singing backup in her red cocktail dress and 8” heels. Another group of backup singers stood a little further back on the stage, wearing black-and-white striped tops.
A few minutes into the set, Perry and Etty Farrell leaned in for an embrace, but they stumbled and somehow ended up collapsed in a heap of laughter, practically spilling into the audience up front. After the guitarist helped Perry Farrell to his feet, he looked towards Etty and commented,” You’re looking stylish! Where would you like to go shopping, Machine Girl?” with a nod to their next single Machine Girl, which kept up the audience’s energy.
The biggest cheers came with Been Caught Stealing, Pets and Jane Says. At one point, Farrell commented, “I like mod clubs. I kind of consider myself a mod. We’re gonna do this next song mod, kinda like X-ray Specs.” Then played “I Got a Right” by The Stooges, to great audience delight. Farrell and his Kind Heaven Orchestra kept their momentum up throughout their 70-minute set.
After chants of “Perry! Perry!” Farrell returned for an encore with band in tow. But he ditched his black vest and poufy arm blouse, exposing his trim 60-year-old six-pack. He addressed the audience, encouraging them “Let’s All Pray for This World together. I do believe that angels hear us,” before launching into a moving rendition of Let’s All Pray for This World from his Kind Heaven album. Let’s all hope his message gets through. This world could use some more kindness.