The Jesus Lizard performed for a rabid crowd at Union Transfer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 30, 2019 — I, Andy Jillson, was there having a rock ‘n’ roll catharsis. This was my fourth time seeing The Jesus Lizard live, but it was undoubtedly one of the most memorable. David Yow captivated the audience, the band punished their instruments, and we all loved every second of it.
I have liked The Jesus Lizard since the mid-90’s, but in the years since my like for them and has turned into love. This band is not be overlooked. They reunited in 2008, with Mac McNeilly drumming, and began playing shows again in ’09-’10 after an eight year hiatus. The band reunited for a second time in 2017 to an overwhelming amount of praise from critics and music fans alike.
As usual, The Jesus Lizard did not disappoint at Union Transfer. They delivered nothing but “noise rock” gold. Loud, heavy, intense, progressive, creepy, and orgasmic to the ear. The show was packed tightly and the venue’s air was wet with sweat and anticipation. The fans writhed and swayed back and forth to the frenzied music during the bands entire performance. It was exhausting for all of us over 40 that participated in the crowd chaos. No photo pit for this show. Always make it challenging for a concert photographer.
The Jesus Lizard kicked their set off with the always kick ass classic song, “Puss” and proceeded to basically play a “best of” set. The band covered a wide range of their material and even threw in a couple surprises. Other noteworthy songs they played included; “One Evening,” “Mouth Breather,”Glamorous,” “Nub,” “My Own Urine,” “Boilermaker,”Killer McHann, “Monkey Trick,”Blockbuster,”Thumbscrews,” “Then Comes Dudley,” “Destroy Before Reading,” “Fly On the Wall,”Too Bad About the Fire,” and “Dancing Naked Ladies.”
The Jesus Lizard formed in late 80’s in Austin, Texas after David Yow (vocals) and David Wm. Sims’ (bass) previous band, Scratch Acid, broke up. Together they formed The Jesus Lizard with Duane Denison playing guitar and a drum machine. In 1989 the band moved to Chicago, fired their drum machine, and hired Mac McNeilly as their drummer. Yay! McNeilly is one of my personal favorite rock drummers — terribly underrated in my opinion.
In 1990 The Jesus Lizard met recording engineer Steve Albini and recorded their first full-length album, Head, for Touch and Go Records. To date they have released 6 studio albums, 3 EP’s, and 2 live albums. My go-to Jesus Lizard albums are Goat, Liar, and Down. All damn near greatest hits albums. All so damn good.
As I’m sure you have figured by now, I highly suggest seeing The Jesus Lizard perform live if you can. Their shows are equally beautiful and disturbing. They are one of the greatest rock bands of the 90’s and one of the best live rock bands I’ve seen, period. Hopefully David Yow and company will schedule some shows in 2020, but I guess we’ll all have to wait and see. I’m grateful to have seen them once again.
Here are some more photos of The Jesus Lizard performing at Union Transfer in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on December 30, 2019. All images copyright and courtesy of Andy Jillson. All images are the property of Andy Jillson/Hazy Eye Music Media.
Stream these Jesus Lizard albums on Spotify: