Long live rock, I need it every night

Saturday, September 13, 2008

You Don't Know Jaxx

Kix w/ Z02, at Jaxx - 9/12/08 - $27

Like our own private moon landing, Rock Club was full of excitement as we finally touched down in Springfield, VA to take in a show at the legendary Jaxx on Friday night. Nestled between an Afghan restaurant and Mattress Land, Jaxx is conveniently located in a strip mall near I-95. Unlike our trips to Baltimore and Chicago, our interest in seeing a show at Jaxx had less to do with the bands performing and more to do with checking out a new place - call it a cultural expedition.

Here's how Jaxx looks from the outside:Something's missing here...

Thanks to my discovery of IFC's new Z Rock series, we had a nice reason to venture out to Jaxx, and our reason got better thanks to the top billing of Hagerstown, MD's very own pop-metal act, KIX. The sold-out Jaxx was packed with a mix of hot-young-slutty-glam-metal-chicks and what looked to be their parents. Choosy Milfs choose KIX. Lots of haggard dudes with stringy, brittle hair, some bosomy and equally haggard ladies in white leather, and average white folks wearing KIX concert tees as well. sacklunch said he personally felt more attractive just by being there.

Throughout the night, the crowd was polite and well mannered, dispelling our initial prejudices about the venue and its patrons. No pushing, no aggression, and the most offensive act I witnessed was watching the guy next to me getting whipped in the face by the headbanging hair of the guy in front of him. Think - going through a car wash, sans car.

We skipped the first 3 bands, arriving 30 minutes before ZO2 hit the stage. As sacklunch mentions in the clip below, when you enter Jaxx you pass through a metal detector. Yet, Jimbromski and the dude behind me both set off the machine as we passed through, and no one seemed to care. The Jaxx staff have probably tired of dealing with too many dudes packing tin-foiled cucumbers in their trousers.

ZO2 were fun to see, but mostly because lead singer Paulie Z wails like the hard rock bands of the late 70s and 80s. It's been a while since I've seen anything like it, so it was a welcome change from all the beardy bands we've been seeing. Most of ZO2's songs are highly derivative. I texted myself the following list of what came to mind as I listened:
Tool - STP - Living Colour - Seinfeld theme song -that "More Than Words" song -Pearl Jam
The cover of RUSH's Tom Sawyer was awesome. On our way out, we ran into two-thirds of ZO2. They had 8 minutes til chow time, and we got a quick pic. Nice dudes. They invited us to Atlantic City for their show with Alice Cooper. ZO2 in AC with AC.


Anonymous said...

I was predicting more spandex. Dig the video. Jaxx is no longer a mystery. -Beth

Potsy said...

Yeah. Mystery solved. You'd think spandex would have been more in play. Especially for the aged rockers and fans. Kinda like support hose, I suppose.

I'd go back to Jaxx. I just don't know for whom. Next stop, the Birchmere...

Anonymous said...

I wish you'd stayed for Kix, love to get you take on them...

Potsy said...

We caught the first two songs from KIX. The video clip captures a taste. What we saw kicked ass (no pun intended). I was surprised a bit, but you don't sell out Jaxx without cause.

For being seasoned gents, they brought the rock. No casual loafing about, worrying about busting a hip. Enthusiastic and LOUD. Can't comment too much on their music specifically. Jimbromski made the comparison to early AC/DC (vocally), and I think that's what you hear in the video clip. If my ears weren't bleeding, and Jimbromski wasn't so hungry, and it wasn't already so late, I would have happily stayed. Now who sounds old?

sacklunch said...

Yeah, in retrospect, I wish we had stayed a little bit longer for Kix. It looks like the have some good stage props that they bring out later in the set. I also would have been psyched to hear "Don't Close Your Eyes"..

Other items of note:

Jaxx is odd in regards to their "rules". Potsy already mentioned that they have this big metal detector at the entrance that is completely useless. They also have signs posted "NO VIDEO OR AUDIO RECORDING ALLOWED". Meanwhile there are tons of people taking photgraphs, video, etc.. The dude next to me had a large sort of old-school video camera that he used to tape the ZO2 set. They also have signs stating "NO ALCOHOL PAST THIS POINT" (meaning the pit/stage level). I think 9 out of 10 people had a beer in their hands. Let's just say there isn't much rule enforcement. This seems like the type of place where, hypothetically speaking, you could be smoking weed in your car in the alley behind the venue. Rather than bust you for smoking weed, they would probably just tell you to move your car or you "might get a ticket or towed", hypothetically speaking, of course....

I really enjoyed ZO2. The music isn't something I would normally listen to or purchase, but the guy has a great set of pipes and they bring an entertainment to the stage. It was a nice change of pace from the dweeby indie bands we usually go see.

It was a great night out, not sure if I have any real desire to go back anytime soon, but I am glad we finally made it to Jaxx.

The only negative I have about the venue is the use of the trough in the men's restroom. I prefer a single urinal, preferably with a barrier. I agree it is better than the "circular trough", which I think they had at the old Balck Cat or some other venue....

sacklunch said...

Many typos in that last comment, I apologize.

Jumbo Slice said...

When I talked to you guys it sounded like you were having a great time. I'm sure it was much different than the usual Black Cat show.

Nice picture of you guys with Z02. Sacklunch doesn't look too comfortable w/ that guy putting his arm around him.

KCG said...

Yah, the DC Rock Club boyz look a little weirded out ... as if they are uncomfortable with what they might be feeling.

sacklunch said...

Yeah, Potsy snuggled in nice and close to the Scott Stapp look-a-like drummer. I think the reason I am standing so far away is because the guy had a lot of post-show sweat going on. He was rather moist.

That being said, they seemed like real nice guys and I wish them the best of luck with their TV show (which is pretty funny, BTW) and their band.

Anonymous said...

Some comments on your comments, and no, I don't work there.

You do know that Jaxx has been a nightclub for nearly 30 years right? It's been Jaxx and owned by Jay Nedry for the last 12-15 years but it has been a club of some form or another since 1979-1980 or so at least.

The signs about no alcohol beyond this point are for the many all ages shows they have, as a matter of fact almost all shows are all ages except for the few older acts (like Kix) that are 21 and up only, in which case the signs don't apply, they just don't take them down for one night. When it's an all ages show they are very strictly enforced.

On a show like Kix it's pretty obvious that not too many (if any) people where packing "heat" so the metal detector is more used as a deterrent in that case, if someone has something they shouldn't odds are they will avoid the detector. On some shows everyone is checked as far as I know.

About recording, audio, video or cameras. As stated on the Jaxx website, they don't care what you do, the policy is set by the headline act performing that night. Most bands allow non-professional cameras, almost all National acts will not allow any audio or video recording, but then again, some love it. It just depends, obviously Kix didn't care. I've seen lots of shows where people are caught taking pics or recording and their cameras are taken away until after the show. Just depends on the band.

Yes, the bathrooms suck LOL. But there are 2, the one near the front door has actual urinals, although they are weirdly high and there is no partition.

And the West Springfield Police Station is about a minute and a half away, they stop by all the time, mainly to check out the bands, but they do drive through the parking lot to make sure everything is alright, they don't hassle anyone, as a matter of fact a lot of them come to shows when off duty, but if someone was smoking weed in the back alley I'm sure they would regret it LOL.

That's it, no recriminations or anything, just wanted to set some of the record straight. I've been going there a long time and in this day and age all nightclubs need more business not less so they don't close. Didn't want anyone to get the wrong idea about the place.

sacklunch said...

Dear Anonymous-

Thanks for your post. I hope you didn't get the wrong idea about our comments regarding Jaxx. In fact, we all really enjoyed the venue. The sound was very good, I liked the "pit", and everyone (staff included) was extremely friendly. Thanks for clarifying the "rules". Our trip and report on Jaxx was not meant by any means to be a deterrent to others that may want to venture to W. Springfield.

Jimbromski said...

Yeah, Sack and I attended Lake Braddock (class of 89) so we're well aware of Jaxx and all that. We'd just never been.

Definitely a good time, friendly staff, crowd was into the show but not aggro, music was good. All in all a positive experience. I do wish we stayed longer for Kix but we were all pretty hungry by that point and my stomach rules my soul.

Anonymous said...

Oh I didn't take it as a bad review or anything, just wanted to set some things straight is all. Although it did sound like you thought the place was new LOL.

Glad you had a good time. A Kix crowd certainly isn't aggressive but you should be there during a death metal show LOL, those kids are nuts.

I look forward to more reviews on your site, I just found it and looks good :-)

Jimbromski said...

Yeah, we were talking about this, how Kix/Z02 aren't really representative of metal, per se, they're more of a classic rock vibe.

Don't get me wrong, I liked it, but we're thinking we'll have to come back for a Norwegian black metal show to get a real taste of the metal scene.

Glad you like the site, pls come back...we mostly review indie-type shit but as you can see we try and break out of our box every now and again.