We took an informal poll on the walk over to the House of Blues, and everyone agreed that Juliette and the Licks, the evening’s entertainment at the VooDoo Experience VIP party, would most definitely suck. It wasn’t a scientific poll, but things weren’t looking good for Ms. Juliette Lewis, the former slightly unhinged actress turned fully unhinged puck rock singer.
I had wrangled some invites to the Southern Comfort party kicking off the two-day VooDoo Fest in New Orleans. We were there mainly for the free booze and the chance to spot a few musicians. Once we arrived we realized that, outside of the Beastie Boys or Frank Black, not one of us could identify today’s pop stars. After surveying the scene, we decided that any young man bold enough to hit on the models from Stuff Magazine, who wore tight, cropped t-shirts over their surgically enhanced breasts and jeans that fit as snug as a rubber glove, must be a member of a band. Guys wearing sunglasses and surround by a posse were also suspected of being famous.
Since Southern Comfort was footing the bill, the free drinks were either a SoCo concoction or an Abita beer. Wanting to be a good guest, I tried a drink made by our host. The last time I had Southern Comfort was in high school, and I remember that it tasted like cough syrup. Then again, at that age a shot of whiskey burned like rubbing alcohol. It turns out, though, that SoCo does taste like cough syrup, and mixing it with Coke can’t hide that. The best I can say for this brand of booze is that it would get you drunk, but not with the stingy servings offered at the party. I wisely bought an Abita with my second free drink coupon.
After an announcer read through Lewis’ diminishing screen credits, from starring in Natural Born Killers to a small role in Old School, Juliette jumped on stage and asked,”Are you ready to rock, motherfuckers. This is my house.” No word on how the House of Blues Entertainment, Inc., responded to Juliette’s ownership claim, but a lot of people around me giggled.
The band, featuring drummer Patty Schemel from Hole, pounded out accomplished punk metal, while Juliette rehearsed her rocks star moves. She whipped her long hair back and forth. Shoved the guitarist. Flexed her muscles. At one point, she licked the sweat off her biceps, making me wonder if she suffered from a sodium deficiency. It was like watching live karaoke.
After a few songs Juliette settled into her role. Her voice is nothing remarkable, but she can keep a solid scream going for an entire set. The music can also be generic and occasionally echoes others tunes (Was one song built on the melody from Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69″?). The band was solid, though. The Licks aren’t making music that will last more than a year, but they put on a better show than anyone expected.
Originally posted at A Frolic of My Own.