Friday, 31 March 2017

Live Show - The Jesus & Mary Chain


Venue: O2 Academy
Where: Leicester

Yeah there's no picture because I didn't take my obligatory awkward one picture from the back. I used to do it only for the purpose of live reviews like here, which I didn't even take, and here - where the setting was far more creative than the music. Atmosphere and setting are your guides to successful 'fun' gigs, so when the O2 Academy (most likely at the hands of the TJ&MC crew) started playing Can's "Halleluhwah" while waiting for the band to appear, well let's just say I was beginning to get excited -and for good reason, it was The Jesus & Mary Chain I was waiting to hear. Out of the literally thousands of bands I've had the fortune and misfortune of hearing during my 25 years, TJ&MC were right up there near the very top of bands I've wanted to see - to name a few of the others: Slowdive, Beach House, and Spacemen 3 -  the latter  being a pipe dream I wish would come true.

And yet I was very apprehensive about seeing TJ&MC, let alone paying £25+ for a band notoriously hit and miss live; history tells us they're more miss than hit. There used to be a time when if you were 15 minutes late to a J&MC gig; you would be severely disappointed. I've seen a few 80s / 90s comeback  (touring in your 50s) shows over the years and they've more often than not left me dissatisfied, Echo & the Bunnymen being a major let down, The Zombies were a gold digger's dream; but Adam Ant was surprisingly good come to think about it. Anyway, all that apprehension was swiftly wiped away, as was the cost when Will Reid's sparkling solo on "Head On" lit the room alive.

Their confidence on stage hasn't staggered over the years, Jim's no shit's given attitude is one of TJ&MC's major attractions. He belts out: "Kiss today but fuck tomorrow" - and the music from their new album Damage & Joy sounds fresh like Munki, but periodic to Darklands; the best of both worlds in all honesty. The gritty, dirty (and to normies) horrendous sounding noise from Psychocandy makes a slight comeback, but nothing like the simplicity and musical fuckery which can only be felt when listening to a 1985 pop record with severe feedback. They're not even afraid to get right into it. "Head On" and "April Skies" make early appearances like they're some kind of trials, when in fact these would be most band's signature tunes. Part of this is down to TJ&MC having a signature sound and feel as opposed to song - though "Just Like Honey" made the audience cheer and snarl just as the same Leicester gathering did several months ago with Claudio.

My ears shot up like a roger rabbit at the sound of Will Reid's best Stooges / VU homage: "Reverence". The song I consider to be TJ&MCs best, which sounds catatonic live. It's as if the repetitiveness of 70s krautrock meets the proto-punk influence of every single post-punk band, it's pure energy injected into an audience where most would be more likely to have a heart attack than take a picture. Let me clarify, the J&MC following can be split up into two categories. One: Men aged 37 and lower that were introduced to Psychocandy by family/friends/media and explored further (basically me,) Two: Men aged 38 and above that were there in 87' who wear Spacemen 3 shirts (basically every bold guy in the audience.) And to be fair to the opposite sex, there were plenty of hardcore Chainettes loving the good vibes of Scotland's finest.

You couldn't really ask for more than what TJ&MC gave in Leicester. Their obvious obsession with perfectionism gave every last fan the chance to see what it really takes to give 50/50. 50% of not giving a fuck, and 50% of re-imaging the best musical elements of the greats. As a fan of zeitgeist and quality, it was fitting to finally see TJ&MC restart a few songs after hitting errors as I knew they would, however I disliked the fake: "this is our last song" - typical modern bullshit TJ&MC have for some reason taken up, possibly ironically. As a sarcastic prick, I can see this, though coming back out and playing several songs just makes the whole... leaving the stage... thing seem so below a band who ooze coolness. But all in all, TJ&MC were well worth going to see. As one of my most played artists since becoming a teen, it was a necessity.
~Eddie Gibson

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