The House of Blues, Chicago • 12.12.97

After leaving the Geffen grunge factory in early ’94 to follow A&R guru John Kalodner to Epic, Jackyl continues to create a lot of stank. After getting raves for their stellar performance at Woodstock ’94, once again, the drinking man’s party band, Jackyl, is back: “Bigger than life, and twice as ugly.”

As many times as I’ve seen this band perform, this was probably the best one yet. It was by no means the best one in terms of the performance. The beauty of the situation is that I felt like a fly on the wall, watching one of their rehearsals. As a result, the setting was quite intimate, like the audience was given a behind-the-scenes glimpse into Jackyl’s next big show, as they sought to work out the bugs. It wasn’t quite Spinal Tap, but it certainly was raw… Having a frontman with numerous arrests under his belt for indecent exposure, raw is nothing new for Atlanta’s redneck punks. Jackyl’s music is as candid as ever with its explicit lyrics and southern-infused “gee-tar” riffs. Moreover, in light of all this political correctness, singer Jesse James DuPree still isn’t the slightest bit apprehensive about proclaiming, “She Loves My Cock.”

I’ll bet she does — especially in the throes of DuPree’s downright wicked “white boy boogie.”

Clad in a black “pleather” jacket, tight jeans, and white cowboy boots shot to hell, DuPree started the mayhem with hard rocker “Dumbass Country Boy.” Three quarters into Jackyl’s set, somewhere after Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Gimme Back My Bullets,” Jackyl gave the impression that there was no apparent set list thereafter, like a free-for-all jam session of sorts. “Start playin’. We’ll fall in,” DuPree urged drummer Chris Worley, who complained (half-heartedly) that he didn’t know the song “American Band.”

But they got through it all right. Although, later on, DuPree would miss several attempts to fire his shotgun on cue during “Redneck Punk.” For several seconds, he battled trying to stuff shells into the shotgun clip as they kept prematurely popping out. Fortunately, the song would eventually end with a bang!

DuPree seems to have kicked the ass-baring habit, yet continues his love affair with his chainsaw, which first made its first appearance on Jackyl’s platinum-selling debut via their redneck anthem “The Lumberjack Song.” He also works his chainsaw “solo” into “Cut the Crap” (from their latest album Cut the Crap).

The audience was treated to crowd-pleaser “Dirty Little Mind” and AC/DC’s “Live Wire.” The band performed “Locked and Loaded” sans DuPree’s duet partner, AC/DC’s frontman Brian Johnson, opting, in Johnson’s absence, to bring up two rhythmless guys from the audience who couldn’t carry a tune in a spit bucket. DuPree also suggested that the crowd partake upon “some drankin’ music” before launching into “Secret of the Bottle.” As if we needed help washing it down…

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