June 6 is a day etched in history for events occurring over 60 years ago, when, in 1944, Allied Forces landed on the beaches of Normandy, precipitating the end of World War II and giving way to an unparalleled era of peace and prosperity across Europe. With all due respect to the Greatest Generation though, June 6 should now be remembered as the day local Scene Kings Jean-Eric played their last New Orleans show before invading the Island of Manhattan.
The Belle Époque came to a close with a raucous farewell show at Siberia that began with Jean-Eric’s aspiring heir apparent, Rhodes!!, offering a strictly clothing optional set that was equal parts music performance and performance art. He made a respectable claim to the throne vacated by the departing headliners, energetically delivering his signature shouted vocals set to electronic beats against a backdrop of spastic dance moves, multiple forays into the crowd, green goo, and plenty of glitter. While the English language fails to provide words which satisfactorily describe Jean-Eric, the same can almost certainly be said of Rhodes.
But this was Jean-Eric’s night. The public adores those who deliver peak performances; this is why soccer fans watch the Champions League, why the Intelligentsia reads Lost Illusions, why Renaissance Men and Enlightenment thinkers flocked to Cicero, and why those at Siberia attended Jean-Eric’s goodbye. Emcees Frank Jones and Karen Wallace, joined this evening by a full backing band, launched headlong into a marathon set that featured old hits and new arrivals. Memorable pieces included the mandatory dance-along “Elsa,” as well as the debut of their newest work, “Miami,” a demonstrative apex of Jean-Eric’s pure, distilled, lightning-in-a-bottle fun. Crowd favorites “Real World,” “Better Than Good,” “Ooh Ah Ah,” and “Pickle” were delivered with typical flair, and resident dancer, Sheila Santamaria, brought the goods as well. Jones, Wallace, and Santamaria all spent their fair share of time inside, around and atop the crowd, being repeatedly passed along outstretched hands like Jesus fallen from the cross – though with infinitely more style. The show – and an Era – came to a close with the catchiest, dancing-est and most exemplary of Jean-Eric songs, “Bull in a China Shop”, extended so that the moment might never end.
End it must, however. Their local Fin de Siècle having arrived, Jean-Eric will move to New York City, where they will doubtless be embraced and deified. We look forward to reminding the pretending megalopolis that New Orleans had Jean-Eric first. As they strutted in and out of and through and around the crowd that night, Jean-Eric showed everyone how they did New Orleans and gave a glimpse of how they will fuck the wider world.
note: file photo (Jean-Eric at Siberia on April 16, 2012)