Joan Jett at Coney Island

10 Aug

“And now, the most intellectual and talented of female rockstars: Joan Jett!”  Announced Borough President Marty Markowitz yesterday at the “Seaside Summer Concert,” where Jett was headlining.

Following this comment, they commenced mic checks, tuning instruments and setting up for her entrance.

Prior to this remark, it seemed as if every politician at all pertaining to New York would speak.  Borough Controller, Borough President, President of Coney Island, a man from the Bay Ridge Credit Union and the man who appears to be at every opening ceremony and graduation in New York state around election time, Senator Chuck Schumer.

Opening for Joan Jett were the Coney Island freak show cast.  The emcee/”Human Blockhead,” Ray Valenz destroyed the momentum by saying no less than three times, “and now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for.”  The woman performing an awkward, erotic dance with a snake, “Serpentina,” was apparently not who the audience was waiting for.

Also with the the sideshow were, “Baron Von Geiger,” the strongman who puts fishhooks through the holes in his face, but does not perform any “feat of strength”;  “Insectavora,” a heavily tattooed woman who climbs a ladder of dull swords– with her bare feet!  And with enthusiastic announcement from the “Human Blockhead,” whose talent is to stick a nail up his nose; the machine who keeps the act on life support, “Betty Bloomerz,” the sword swallower.

When the audience seemed restless at 8:27pm, Markowitz nervously explained that he was not keeping Jett and that as soon as she was ready, she would come out.  Yet he somehow did not seem to run out of people who could come up on stage.

When the show began, however and Joan Jett and the Blackhearts assembled on stage and finally began their set with their hit, “Bad Reputation,” they were amazing.  Jett looks, sounds and rocks as good as she did 30 years ago.

The Blackhearts went through their discography and even did some of the songs Jett wrote when she was with the Runaways.

Joan is no longer a rebellious child and with time she has given up on shocking people, one astounding feature of the concert, however, was the audience.  Their was an eclectic crowd to say the least, hipsters who swayed to high drive riffs like they were listening to Bjork, some girls dressed like Lady Gaga, observant Jews and even some Russians.

Very few people at the concert subscribed to the rock aesthetic or mentality.

Joan Jett and the Blackhearts rock, to say the least.  Their prodigious talent wakes up even the dullest of audiences.  There is some depth to the tunes, despite their punk sound and crass overtones on a superficial level.

After the show, a father and a daughter were sitting next to each other on the Manhattan bound Q local train, they were giggling at facebook statuses and clearly had a great time at the concert and would not have chosen anyone else in the world to go with.

Ultimately, rock and roll is not about rebellion, anger or self-destruction.  Rock and roll is about freedom, embracing individuality and one’s right to be understood.  Sometimes it is not about whether you give a damn ’bout your bad reputation, it is about someone else doing you the same courtesy. 


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