Less Than Jake lights up 9:30 Club

Our live show is just random insanity, says Roger, Less Than Jake’s bassist. Usually it’s just like everyone gets psyched up in their own way. For some people that’s dressing up like Richard Simmons.

Or Spiderman. Or throwing fistfuls of rice at the crowd. Or breathing fire. To Less Than Jake a live show is about pure fun and entertainment. That’s exactly what the several hundred kids in attendance got at the group’s 9:30 Club performance Sept. 13.

Following three opening acts, which included pop-punk group Pollen, punk group One Man Army and Detroit chord masters The Suicide Machines, Less Than Jake took to the stage.

Draped in fire imagery, covered in haze and orange lighting to the shrill and delight of fans, the band took no time to blast into their pogo-inspiring set. Less Than Jake showed that it wastes no time and aims to please. With a one-two punch the band cranked out its delirious brand of blearing horns, aggressive up-beats and firm bass lines, as the young crowd jumped up and down.

They played songs like Gainesville Rock City and Jen, and never once let down the momentum they had from the start. This could have been a problem, because a band that uses no foreplay usually cannot stir its fans to climax. But this audience came to dance, and Less Than Jake was not about to let them down.

The group never changed its dynamic throughout set; it was straightforward party music. But just as they kept the party vibe musically, they also embraced it visually.

Looking more like a motley crew than Motley Crue, the band struck a circus-like presence on stage with blond afros, long dreadlocks and preppy sweater-vests. Along for the ride was a tuxedoed group dancer, who managed to stage dive a few times, and Spiderman, who ran out spraying string cheese at the crowd in his guest appearance. The climax of the show included some heavy-duty fire breathing, as the band demolished the drum set and the fire breather blew wafts of flame to the ceiling.

Before the madness began, however, the band was as chill as could be relaxing in the backroom of the 9:30 Club so plush and comfy that it brings Jabba the Hut’s palace from Return of the Jedi to mind.

If it wasn’t for this tour we’d be opening up for Bon Jovi right now, Roger said jokingly. I wonder what would happen if I stole Heather Locklear. According to the Muppet-like Roger the group has been touring for a long time and has no complaints.

There’s been no problem with the shows, no violence, no bullshit, no skinheads; it’s just been really enjoyable, Roger said.

The band is on tour promoting its newest release from the ska-pop-punk sextet Borders and Boundaries (Fat Wreck Chords) in stores Oct. 24. Band members have found time in their hectic touring schedule to put extra effort into their new release.

We wrote our record in two months and recorded it in two months, Roger said. We took our time getting the feel right, and tried to make it pretty dynamic. We definitely have a vision for the musicality of it, sonically speaking, the way it hits your ears.

When they’re not playing or recording, Less Than Jake is traveling in between gigs in a bus Roger calls a monolith of steel.

The bus provides more like being at home, Rogers said. The stress is gone from touring,

But for the next two weeks band members will return to their homes in Florida for a little R & R.

I’m into pettin’ the cat; sittin’ on the couch; seein’ my lady, Roger said about his plans for the time off.

After that its back on a tour that will probably hit Australia in January or February. Those plans aren’t definite for a reason, Roger said.

You can’t think too far ahead, said Roger, whose relaxed tempo off stage contrasts his fiery stage presence. It doesn’t make sense. You can only think for up to four or five months at a time.

For at least another four or five months, fans of Less Than Jake’s up-beat driven pop punk, circle mosh pits and fire-breathing antics can enjoy the group’s new album and carnival-like entertainment, which in many ways is what music is supposed to be all about.

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