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Porno For Pyros Play For Environment

"So we made it!" exclaimed Perry Farrell in his nasal drawl, greeting the crowd at the Santa Barbara County Bowl with the usual raised bottle o' wine in hand. "We've been indoors lately, so it's nice to be outdoors again." With that simple statement of bliss and purpose, and a dedication of the next song to nature, Porno for Pyros launched into "Good God's Urge," acoustically and gracefully. At this benefit Concert for the Environment Friday (April 18), Farrell played perfect host to a near perfect and almost acoustic (though too short) set, pared down electrically, but enhanced by the setting and circumstances. Farrell, a longtime advocate of the environment, practiced his own bit of conservation this night. In a sort of traveling- salesman- meets- tropical- mad- hatter getup, he acted as our gracious ringleader, leading his musical circus through a cozy set of only six songs. There were no dancing Shivas or outlandish antics, just a sprinkling of little lights and flowers on the dusk- lit stage among the eucalyptus trees. And with the setting sun over the Pacific Ocean in the distance, Porno for Pyros, though sandwiched between local and far less inspired bands, Summercamp and Dishwalla, were truly in their element.
Porno played the dreamy "Porpoise Head," the quaint "Kimberly Austin," and the most raucous song of the evening, "Tahitian Moon," all from their last album. Missing was their current single, "Hard Charger"; but not disappointingly, this night was about giving, not promoting. And it was in this "count your blessings" fashion that Farrell told the audience to look to the sky, philosophizing, "the more you look up, the more likely someone will be looking down on you." Giving the audience full of black- clad eccentrics and beachy types something to care about, Farrell ended with Jane's Addiction's "I Would for You," before he signed off in true ringleader fashion. And with that, the circus on earth seemed a bit more palatable.

-- Rebecca Kraus

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