Several years ago, while covering the Warped Tour at the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, I made a point of catching a set from what at first seemed like an incongruous inclusion in the lineup – Joan Jett & the Blackhearts.
I went expecting it to be fun, a guiltless nostalgia trip. What I got was something else entirely. Amid an onslaught of very heavy bands, Jett and her band tore the place down. If you only know Jett from her mega-hit “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll,” you’re missing most of the story. Originally inspired by glam rock godess Suzi Quatro, Jett helped birth punk-pop with the Runaways, and was an indie artist with her own record label long before it became fashionable. She’s a dyed in the wool punker with a love of glam rock and power-pop, and with the Blackhearts, she has consistently managed to blend these influences into a sound all her own. So when you go to see her at Artpark, be prepared for more than a simple recounting of the hits. Jett still has the fire, and so does her band.
Joan Jett & the Blackhearts, with guests the Matt Facciola Band, perform at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Artpark. Tickets are $5 advance, $10 beginning on Sunday; priority tickets in the front of-stage pit area are $25 (box office, artpark.net).
– Jeff Miers