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Three shows, three different sounds from Dave Navarro in Las Vegas

Jane’s Addiction guitarist brings something fresh to every gig

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Dave Navarro performs at the Biggest Tattoo Show on Earth closing party at the Bank in the Bellagio.
Photo: Denise Truscello/WireImage

You have to hand it to Dave Navarro: Despite playing three shows in Las Vegas this year, all of them were distinctly different.

While other artists, like Kid Rock and Snoop Dogg, have given Las Vegas audiences virtually identical live shows, none of Navarro’s appearances have been anything alike.

The first was in April, as part of Perry Farrell’s 50th birthday celebration at The Mirage; the second was part of the Jane’s Addiction/Nine Inch Nails NINJA tour at The Pearl in May; and the third was at The Bank last weekend.

Amid a musical landscape that is all-too-often dominated by repetition, overly choreographed stage shows and rehearsed, almost robotic dialogue, Navarro’s comparatively schizophrenic stage shows have been almost refreshing.

While Monday morning’s mini-set at the Bellagio was hardly inspired -- he played cover songs or rock ‘n’ roll and rap mash-ups, after all – Navarro still got points for giving fans something different.

The guitarist has a knack for switching things up, and is known to have several projects on the go at any given time. He tours with Jane’s Addiction, plays smaller shows with his L.A.-based band, Camp Freddy; does a weekly radio show, “Dark Matter”; directs AVN Award-winning adult films and, along with adult film super starlet Jesse Jane, manages porn starlet Sasha Grey; hosts a Web TV show called “Spread TV” … the list goes on and on.

As if that wasn’t enough, he also joined Smashing Pumpkins frontman Billy Corgan’s new side project, Spirits in the Sky, on tour this summer, and all the while still found time to Twitter.

“They’re all things that I’d do, regardless of income,” he shrugged.

While he might not have done it for the money, the rocker made a special trip to Las Vegas Sunday to appear at the "The Biggest Tattoo Show On Earth" wrap party.

The trip was so brief, in fact, that he didn’t have a chance to stop by the mammoth ink expo before it closed.

No bother, though: The guitarist already has plenty of tattoos, and most of the tattoo industry heavyweights, including the man behind the convention, Mario Barth, came to The Bank last night, anyway.

Navarro arrived at 11:30 p.m. and quickly made his way to one of the club’s elevated VIP tables, where he hung out until his performance began.

Adult film star and business partner Jesse Jane joined him at the table and later cheered him on while he performed from one of the club’s balconies.

DJ Skribble collaborated with him during the early morning performance, which opened with LL Cool J’s track, “Momma Said Knock You Out,” then visited Pink Floyd’s “Another Brick in the Wall”; Notorious B.I.G’s “Hypnotize”; Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs” (and, later, Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing in the Name of”); Jay-Z’s “H To The Izzo”; Queen’s “We Will Rock You”; and Young Joc’s “It’s Goin’ Down,” among others.

No original Jane’s or Porno for Pyros material was toyed with; he simply covered (or, more accurately, played along with) the rap and rock songs.

The varied set list made for a collection of classic rock-meets-alternative rock-meets-rap mash-ups.

It was what it was: A short, fun set of short, fun songs. Still, the 42-year-old managed to demonstrate his ability to smoke and play guitar at the same time, and once again went topless after just two songs, which meant he could show off his tattooed and toned torso for the ink-loving crowd.

The Sunday night Bank scenesters seemed to love ever minute of it.

While Navarro is set to hit the road with Jane’s Addiction and visit Brazil before venturing to Australia in the new year, he said another full-length, full band concert isn’t out of the question for Las Vegas before the end of the year.

The eccentric musician recently hinted on his blog that the band is shopping around for a good New Years Eve gig. Last night he told the Sun that he thinks Las Vegas would be an ideal place for the band to ring in 2010.

“We don’t have anything ironed out (for NYE) yet, but either way I can tell you that I’ll probably be here in Las Vegas, whether I’m playing or not,” he said.

Navarro will also likely return to Vegas in January for the AVN Awards, even though last year’s "Best High End All-Sex Release" award-winner won’t be up for any trophies at this year’s gala at the Palms.

Though his current project won’t be done in time to meet the 2010 AVN Awards nomination deadline, he hopes the production will be a contender in 2011.

“The films I like to make are very left of center,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be considered next year.”

While the film has yet to be shot, Navarro already knows Sasha Grey will be the star.

“I’ll more than likely put her in it as the lead,” he said, noting, “the rest of the cast has yet to be confirmed.”

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Melissa Arseniuk

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