Marilyn Manson – Heaven Upside Down tour – Glasgow O2 Academy – 5th December 2017

Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
MARILYN MANSON – Heaven Upside Down

Manson recently released his 10th studio album “Heaven Upside Down” signalling a return to form after a few lack-lustre affairs. He injured himself on-stage in New York at the beginning of October when an oversize gun which formed part of the stage-set fell on him. Add the sacking of long-term band-mate  Twiggy Ramirez at the end of October due to rape allegations from his ex-girlfriend, this was building up to be an interesting night in the company of Brian Warner.

And so it proved.

A little bit broken

After the elongated intro-music of The Cure’s “Killing an Arab, followed by The Door’s “The End”, the curtain dropped. The band launch into a blistering “Revelation #12” and revealed Manson sporting a cast on his right leg and in a customised throne-like electric wheelchair.

He remained in said chair for “This is the New Shit” after announcing that he may be “a little bit broken but you won’t break me”. He also thanked us as he’s “got a little bit of Scottish in me”.

This prompted him to a shout a mildly irritating “Glasgow” (rhyming it with cow) for the first time of what seemed like several thousand throughout the course of the evening.

Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Orderlies

Throughout the set he had two personal roadies (or should I say “orderlies”) on stage appropriately dressed in scrubs. They were there to helped him around stage and changing costumes. For most of the set he was on a half crutch strapped to his knee. While this made him fairly immobile, it didn’t stop him putting on a great show with his voice better this time than on the last few occasions I’ve seen him.

Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Kill4Me

“Disposable Teens” and a fierce “mObscene” followed before another cut from the new album “Kill4Me” with added groupies stage front. I have to say the newer songs were among my favourites that he played in tonight’s set.

“Deep Six” and “Day Three of a Seven Day Binge”, two of the stronger tracks, and the only ones making an appearance, from previous album The Pale Emperor followed.

Classic Manson

Then we were treated to a trio of Manson classics. The band started to play “I Don’t Like the Drugs (but the Drugs Like Me)” before cutting and Manson stating “that was 100% a lie”. They then launched into one of his best songs “The Dope Show”.

This was followed by his bruising take on the Eurythmic’s classic “Sweet Dreams (are Made of This). This song signalled his injury in New York. In Glasgow he writhed on a hospital trolley like a patient in a secure unit, overseen by his 2 orderlies.

Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow

“Tourniquet” (“the last song I played the first time I played here”) was the 3rd classic Manson track in a row.

We Know Where You Fucking Live!

He then transferred back to a wheelchair with all the house lights right down and kicked off the next song with a torch/mic combo searching the audience. An appropriate intro to the menacing fury of the full-scale assault that is “We Know Where You Fucking Live”.

The bombastic theatre continued with him donning a big coat for the latest song in his ongoing God vs Satan debate with “SAY10” from Heaven Upside Down.

Then it was almost over with the wall of sound that is crowd pleaser “The Beautiful People” was the thrilling main set closer.

Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Marilyn Manson Live in Glasgow
Encore

Of course things were not quite over and the encore saw him come back to an extravagant lit-up mic stand covered in white stars and play my particular favourite song from the new album, “Saturnalia”, followed by perhaps one of my favourite Manson compositions, a potent “Coma White”.

As he left the stage again, the lights stayed down there was uncertainty whether he would return. However the strains of his cover of Johnny Cash “Gods Gonna Cut You Down” split the air and it was show over.

For someone who was not fully fit it was a stunning show. And to someone who thought he was possibly past his sell-by date, I was impressed

GUN – Live – King Tuts Wah Wah Hut – 28th November 2017

Gun live at King Tuts
Gun Live – photo courtesy of Barry Harkness
GUN – Favourite Pleasures – Live

Arriving before the doors to the upstairs venue opened, there wasn’t room in the bar to swing a cat. Just getting to the bar was no mean feat. However, the doors opened and the crowd dispersed quickly with all vying for the perfect vantage points to see the gig.

Gun – King Tuts

Gun are no strangers to playing this club sized venue having played a “secret” gig as NUG in an earlier incarnation and more recently a series of dates playing “Taking on the World”, “Gallus” and “Swagger”.

Nordoff Robbins

Tonight’s gig served both as a fundraiser for the fantastic Nordoff Robbins charity, in conjunction with the Sunday Mails 7 Nights, and also as a warm up to the bands forthcoming weekend gigs in Ayr and Glasgow Barrowland.

The job of warming up the crowd went to Alan Nimmo of King King fame who played a stirring acoustic set prompting the crowd to sing along and help him out. That wouldn’t be the last we’d see of Alan this evening.

The anticipation for Gun was palpable in the venue and when they joined the party, they didn’t disappoint.

The main event

The band looked and sounded as if they were enjoying themselves as much as the crowd throughout the night. Dante had a huge grin most of the evening and there was much banter between him and Jools.

The 15 song set pulled heavily from latest album “Favourite Pleasures” and the new songs sound even better live than they do on the album.

The opening salvo of single “She Knows” and the stomping glam rock of “Here’s Where I Am” set the pace for the night. Following up with crowd pleaser, “Don’t Say its Over”, before going back to the latest long player for the funk rock of title track “Favourite Pleasures”, “Silent Lovers” and a live airing for heart-warming new single “The Boy Who Fooled the World” evoking memories of recording your favourite songs off the radio.

Gun Live
Gun Live – King Tuts – photo courtesy of Barry Harkness
Accomplished band

This latest settled line up of Gun are an accomplished group of musicians. Jools and Tommy Gentry complement each other on guitar, supported by a more than adept rhythm section of Andy Carr on bass and Paul keeping the beat at the back. Dante is an energetic and impressive frontman and has made the job his own over the years.

Triumphant rocker “Black Heart” followed before one of my personal favourites from the album, “Tragic Heroes”.

I said we hadn’t seen the last of Alan and he joined the band onstage for a rousing version of debut single “Better Days”. The band followed this up with some more bona fide Gun classics – “Inside Out” and “Steal Your Fire”.

Malcolm Young tribute
Gun with Peter Scallan
Gun with Peter Scallan play Highway to Hell – photo courtesy of Barry Harkness

The date of the gig coincided with the funeral of AC/DC legend Malcolm Young. As a tribute to him and also AC/DC being one of the reasons Jools first picked up the guitar, Dantes place was taken by Jools ex-Blind Allez band-mate from the early 80s, Peter Scallan (also of Samson fame) for a perfect version of “Highway to Hell”. Nice tribute.

Dante goes walkabout
Dante goes walkabout – photo courtesy of Barry Harkness

A powerful rendition of “Take Me Down” followed and took us into the final songs of the evening. Fan favourite “Shame on You”, complete with a Dante crowd walkabout, and a final fun blast of Beastie Boy’s party anthem “Fight for Your Right (to Party)” and the band were gone all too soon.

The punters heading to Ayr and the Barrowland later that week were in for a major treat!

 

 

Theatre of Hate and Southern Approach – Live at The Bungalow, Paisley

Theatre of Hate October 2017

Three firsts for me tonight.

First time in The Bungalow, first time I’ve seen Southern Approach live & first time I’ve see Theatre of Hate live.

The Bungalow, Paisley

The Bungalow didn’t let me down.

Unassuming from the outside, but a perfect intimate venue for a gig inside. The venue has loads of great vantage points to watch the bands and with a great line up of acts due to visit, I’m sure I’ll be back

Southern Approach

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Southern Approach didn’t let me down.

The Kilmarnock band had formed over 30 years ago but split up before they released an album, due to public demand according to frontman Munro. They reformed last year, recorded and released their debut album “Restitution”. The album is packed full of epic songs which we were treated to tonight.

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The band ripped through their 10 tracks, kicking things off with album opener “Break in The Circle”. Munro has a commanding voice complemented by luscious harmonies from Shirley Guthrie. The band were tight through their set and treated us to one hook laden track after another. Songs like “Shake” & “Killing Fields” & “The Traveller” are titanic soundscapes with instantly memorable refrains.

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Judging by the number of CDs they shifted on the night, I wasn’t the only one who enjoyed their set. This was great for the band as tonight’s gig was a big deal for them having originally been called Legion after the Theatre of Hate song of the same name.

Theatre of Hate

Theatre of Hate live
Theatre of Hate live in The Bungalow

And to complete the set, Theatre of Hate didn’t let me down either. I’d seen Kirk Brandon live before in various guises, but this was the first time I’d seen Theatre of Hate.

It was a different story for the majority of tonight’s packed out crowd. Bass legend Stan Stammers mentioning having played the original incarnation of the Bungalow 30+ years ago. From the reaction of the gathered masses, there were a fair number present who had been at that gig.

Theatre of Hate live
Theatre of Hate live

The band of Kirk Brandon. Stan Stammers, Adrian Portas and Chris Bell with Clive filling John “Boy” Lennard’s shoes were on prime form. The 18 tracks played at the gig borrowed from the entire back catalogue of the band, including 5 tracks from 2016’s Kinshi. The newer songs sat perfectly alongside the old Theatre of Hate favourites.

Classic tracks

Right from the off the intensity was pronounced. The opening trio of classics, “Rebel Without a Brain” and debut single “Original Sin” sandwiching “Black Irony” from Kinshi, set out the bands manifesto for the rest of the gig.

Theatre of Hate live
Theatre of Hate live

The sax is a fantastic instrument when played well, and tonight was a great example. There was no John “Boy” Lennard tonight due to family circumstances (thoughts are with John) but Clive ably filled his shoes. Not many alternative/rock bands can get away with a sax player. With Theatre of Hate, it is vital part of their sound. A perfect foil to the power of the bands lyrics and crashing guitars.

Tongue firmly in cheek, Kirk introduced “My Own Invention” as “a tender song about mass murderers”. The band followed it up with “The Maintenance Man” a song about “the ones who clean up after them” complete with a nod to Harvey Keitel’s roles in Point of No Return and Pulp Fiction.

Kirk Brandon live
Kirk Brandon

Brandon alternated between playing guitar and dancing in his unique style when not playing. Taking to the side of the stage at times to give the rest of the band their place, he was evidently lost in the music. At one point I did think that he and Richard Jobson could challenge each other to a dad dance-off.

Unfortunately for him, no-one took him up on his request for ice cream at the start of “Triumph” which he introduced as “(sounding) like ice cream music to me”.

Energy

One of my own personal favourites, “Judgement Hymn” notched the atmosphere up a level. There was a discernible increase in the energy and exuberance from much of the assembled hoard.

As the band reached the climax of their set with “Poppies”, “Solution” and “Legion” there was an outbreak of vigorous dancing in the “pit”. This initially created a bit of tension which threatened to spill over, this was picked up by Kirk who urged the crowd not to “hurt each other”.

In the main though, the atmosphere was good natured. Everyone finding their place and enjoying the gig in their own way. As the band returned for the brace of “Do You Believe in the Westworld?” and “Propaganda”, I turned round and saw a sea of people with huge smiles on their faces. Energetic dancing and singing continued right to the end with a rush of people looking to shake the bands hands before they exited.

A great night’s entertainment. As I said hello to a few folk before I left, I heard a number uttering phrases like “gig of the year”. Proof if needed that the auld yins can still show the youth how to do things right.

Duncan Reid & the Big Heads – Nice n Sleazy, Glasgow 6th October 2017

Duncan Reid & the Big Heads

I’d been looking forward to this gig since the 3rd of December last year. Well, technically this gig hadn’t been announced then, but it was the day after the last Duncan Reid gig and I was still pumped. If anyone has followed previous posts they’ll know I rated it as one of my gigs of 2016.

On that occasion the support bands were Mercury long-list nominees The Media Whores and fast rising Scottish punks with a masterplan, Heavy Drapes.

That night saw all 3 bands put in top class performances so the last gig had a lot to live up to.

They have all had a great year since then.

media Whores, Heavy Drapes and Duncan Reid and the Big heads – since last year

As mentioned Media Whores were long-listed for the Mercury Music Prize with their 3rd album, “Dangerous Minds”. Post punk with a conscience, the album is packed full of songs on a variety of subjects with some well-constructed lyrics and the tunes to back them up. I recently interviewed the band – you can read this here.

Heavy Drapes and Duncan Reid & the Big Heads have both gigged relentlessly and had acclaimed performances at this year’s Rebellion Festival. Heavy Drapes with their first appearance on the main stage. Duncan Reid & the Big Heads playing on more than one occasion including an impromptu extra performance. They have also releasing a sumptuous 3rd album in “Bombs Away”.

There had been a lot of promotion and interest in the gig on social media in the run up so the anticipation was undeniable.

Nice n sleazy – 6th October 2017

As I walked into the venue, there were a number of familiar faces outside and a friendly face at the door in “Main” man and gig organiser Alex “Mainy” Main. As I ordered a drink at the bar I noticed that Mainy made a point of making everyone that arrived feel welcome. This was going to be more of an event than a normal gig.

WESTGAP

Being the all-round great guy that he is, he’d also arranged a collection for WESTgap. WESTgap are “an anti-poverty community group providing independent advice, information and advocacy relating to welfare rights, housing, homelessness, benefits, sanctions, fuel poverty, work, rent arrears and more.” A fantastic organisation providing an unfortunately much needed service in this day and age. Find out more about them and how you can help on their website.

As I stood and took in the surroundings, noticing the place filling up I was pleased to see how many regular friendly faces there were but also many more that I don’t know. I’m always pleased to see bands well-supported, if we don’t support live music we’ll see bands not able to continue and venues closing as has happened around the UK.

It has already been mentioned on social media, but it was satisfying to see how many members of other bands were in the crowd. I think it says a lot about the respect and high esteem in which Duncan Reid is held.

3 Minute Heroes

And so to the music. I said this wasn’t going to be a normal gig and I was proved right by opening act “3 Minute Heroes”.

A band of which I’ve heard loads of great things but never seen live before. Based on what I saw, it won’t be the last time. To call them a covers band would be doing them a dis-service. Yes, they play covers but they make them their own.

Their set was a run through of classic punk/new wave tracks such as “Sound of the Suburbs”, “Oliver’s Army”, “Beat My Guest” and “Ever Fallen in Love” amongst many others. I have to say one of the highlights of their set for me was a punked up version of ABBA’s “Does Your Mother Know”. They followed that with “Hungry Like the Wolf”. Is it wrong that I knew all the words to both these songs?

That was the audience clearly warmed up.

I mentioned the presence of members of other bands in the audience. It was also great to see the other 2 bands watching and clearly enjoying 3 Minute Heroes set.

Heavy Drapes

Next it was the turn of punks on the rise, and one of last year’s supports, Heavy Drapes. I’ve seen Heavy Drapes on several occasions recently and they just seem to get better and better. This was their second Glasgow gig with new(ish) bassist Paul Research after their appearance at Kiss This in Broadcast in September, his first gig with the band. Paul has settled in well and has added his own influence to the band with his “rollerbass” beefing up the sound.

The band played all the, by now, familiar tracks – all 4 from their debut EP along with other live favourites such as “Janie” and “Lets Free the Working Class”. The latter always has the crowd singing along to the “Up against the wall” refrain and is one of my live favourites.

DeLiberate dedicated “New York” to his dad before the band ripped through the song while he channelled the spirit, filth and fury of Rotten. They romped through “Get Your Head Skrewed On” and fan favourite and often set-closer “I Wanna be Maladjusted”.

That wasn’t the end though, they finished with a fine cover of “Search & Destroy” joined by friend of the band Chris on backing vocals. I’m sure that anyone that was there to see the headline act and caught Heavy Drapes for the first time will be a convert.

Next up for Heavy Drapes – a support slot for many peoples “favourite Pistol” Glen Matlock.

Set list:

Number 1/Should I Suck or Should I Blow/Into the Blue/New York/Janie/Nightrippin’/Hanging Like a Suicide/Muchos Respectos/Lets Free the Working Class/Get Your Head Skrewed on/(I Wanna Be) Maladjusted/Search & Destroy

And so to the main event. Headliners:

 

Duncan Reid & the Big Heads.

The last time I saw them they provided the lucky gathering with a masterclass in entertainment.

Tonight it was equalled…..and surpassed. The band were ebullient and dynamic throughout the set. Not only are they accomplished musicians and songwriters but they really look as if they are enjoying every minute of what they do.

Kicking off with the high octane opening track from Bombs Away, “Can’t Stop” they maintained the fire and spirit throughout. The title is appropriate as Duncan literally can’t stop, he bounces around the stage with more zest than bands half his age.

Next we’re off for a whistle-stop tour of “Montevideo” and I think we’d all like to join him for cocktails in the Clash City Rockers bar.

Power Punk with Pop Sensibilities

Duncan & the band write tracks that should be blasting from every radio station around the world and they deserve to be massive. Their accomplished power punk with pop sensibilities is addictive and easy to fall in love with. Sophie K Powers is an incredible guitarist, Nick Hughes a welcome addition to the band since the last time I saw them live and Karen Jones the powerhouse at the back keeping things together. And of course Mr Reid, bass genius and vocalist extraordinaire.

Just ask the youngsters (Jesus – how old does that make me sound!) that Mainy brought down from the bar who danced and sang throughout the set even though they had never heard the songs before.

The songs keep coming. The audience hanging on every word – and singing along including perfect “sha la la lee’s” on “C’est La Vie”.

I can’t possibly pick out one highlight in a set that was just one big highlight. “Thinking”, however, is a favourite of mine and as Duncan started the bass line recognised immediately by the gathered masses, it was obvious that it was loved by many more.

“Just Because You’re Paranoid” was introduced as a song he couldn’t imagine being played live when he wrote it, but is now a staple in their live set. Pure pop perfection with its effervescent keyboard parts and its Madness-esque sound.

bombs away!

The bombastic glam stomp that announces “Bombs Away” is another welcome intro and what a song it is. All masterful driving drums from Karen Jones, glam-tastic guitar riffs and melodic ooo-eee-ooo’s but with an eerily ominous message based on the idiot currently in charge at the White House.

And they kept coming…”Kelly’s Gone Insane”, “C’mon Josephine” (co-written with Andrew Matheson) and “That’s Just the Way It Is” continued the high-spirited performance.

Nick Hughes took centre stage and lead vocals for a well-received version of The Boys classic “Brickfield Nights” which resulted in a lively response from the crowd.

A vibrant and spirited “Soda Pressing” followed. Perhaps too vibrant as Duncan managed to break a string on his bass. A short lull ensued while quick repairs and temporary borrowing of Paul’s rollerbass took place. Nick ad-libbed and joked about that being the reason he wasn’t a song writer.

impromptu worm song

While repairs continued we were treated to an impromptu “Worm Song” which brought smiles to faces and an exuberant sing-along.

With borrowed bass, Duncan introduced “a song about 1977…..” before – well you know what song followed then…..

Another Boys classic – “First Time” with Duncan making a foray into the crowd all chanting along to the “oh oh oh” refrain. Phenomenal.

With curfew fast approaching it was a quick punktastic journey around “One Night in Rio” before the last blast of The Boys Hollywood Brats cover “Sick on You”. This saw euphoria breaking out with a pogoing frenzy and vigorous singalong.

There were smiles on faces all around – band and punters – as the gig finished. Tonight was an event that was not to be missed and definitely repeated.

gig of 2017?

I’ve seen some cracking gigs this year. Is this contender for my gig of 2017? You bet it is. Massive kudos to Mainy for putting it on again. What time next year?

As we all drifted away into the night, I met a lovely bloke who had just moved from Hamburg to Hamilton. He’d asked for directions to Central, but I ended up walking down with him. A massive Boys fan, he’d been looking on the internet and came across tonight’s event. He raved about the gig and we had a brilliant chat about the music scene in Glasgow/Scotland, he was stoked about what was coming up. We could have talked for hours! A lovely way to end a superlative evening.

Setlist: Can’t Stop/Montevideo/TCP/C’est La Vie/Baby Doll/Lets Skip to the Good Bit/Thinking/Just Because You’re Paranoid/Rolling On/Bombs Away/Kelly’s Gone Insane/C/mon Josephine/That’s Just the Way it is/Brickfield Nights/Soda Pressing/The Worm Song/’77/First Time/One Night in Rio/Sick on You

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Live at the SSE Hydro – 27th September 2017

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Live at the SSE Hydro

I wasn’t sure how I felt about this before the gig. Nick Cave’s music to me seems to be suited to a more intimate venue. Especially when you think about recent events with the tragic death of his son and the extremely personal nature of the song-writing for latest album “Skeleton Tree”.

It was my birthday, however, so I was determined that nothing was going to impact my enjoyment of the gig.

I needn’t have been worried though. I wouldn’t be over-stating things to say the night was monumentally epic. 18 exceptional songs in total and nearly 2 1/2 hours on stage.

I must admit that although I’d listened to a few of the tracks, I hadn’t yet bought the latest album, “Skeleton Tree” so was also concerned that my unfamiliarity with some of the songs would have an impact on my enjoyment.

A night to remember

Again, I needn’t have worried. Although the opening salvo of “Anthrocene”, “Jesus Alone” and “Magneto” were all from that album and are of a very personal nature with almost whispered lyrics at various points, they filled the room and felt like songs I’d loved for years. Cave stalked the stage, prowling like a caged beast, and with the band swathed in atmospheric lights I knew it was going to be a night to remember.

Despite the subject matter of the songs and the impact of his son’s death on the final writing of the album, Cave was on top form interacting and joking throughout the night with the lucky punters down at the front.

BooM Boom Boom

During “Higgs Boson Blues” he traded “boom boom boom’s” with audience members, breaking into laughter at various points. An over enthusiastic fan also grabbed him at one point when he was leaning into the crowd. He responded by jokingly commenting about sexual harassment in the workplace.

“From Her to Eternity” was colossal building to a cacophonous crescendo. His audience interaction continued with him noticing the number of people taking photos and recording videos, building “Brother with an iPhone, Sister with an iPhone” into the song.

A crash of thunder

A crash of thunder and familiar brooding bass introduced the titanic classic “Tupelo”. As the background video of ferocious hurricanes and storms played out, the ferocity was matched by the music, with Warren Ellis brewing up his own storm on the violin. I’ve never seen anyone get the sounds out of a violin that Ellis does. At times playing it like a guitar and creating savage feedback.

One of the set highlights was “Jubilee Street” another song with an extended run-out ending in a beautiful gargantuan clamour. It was transforming, glowing, vibrating and flying, I dare you NOT to “look at him now”

High emotions

The tempo came down for the brace of “The Ship Song” followed by an emotional “Into My Arms”, but the intensity wasn’t any less. After every song I kept wondering how he would match that, but each time he succeeded and continually exceeded all my expectations. I was feeling emotional during these two songs and it took all my inner strength to not actually have tears in my eyes.

You could hear a pin drop in the audience during “Into My Arms”. The atmosphere at the end was electric when Cave encouraged the crowd to sing the last few lines back to him. Exquisite.

A few shouts went up from the crowd for various songs. Most of which were brushed off. But, when someone shouted for “Stagger Lee” he responded with “We’ll definitely play that one, we always play that one!”

The emotion continued with a brace of songs from Skeleton Tree with the sad lines of “Girl in Amber”…

“You kneel, lace up his shoes, your little blue-eyed boy

Take him by his hand, go move and spin him down the hall

I get lucky, I get lucky cause I tried again

I knew the world it would stop spinning now since you’ve been gone

I used to think that when you died you kind of wandered the world

In a slumber til you crumbled, were absorbed into the earth

Well, I don’t think that any more the phone it rings no more”

…and “I Need You”. Just breathe…..

Red right hand

Next was the song that many of my non-Nick Cave fan friends recognise from its use in the excellent Peaky Blinders, “Red Right Hand”. I’d lost count of how many times in the days preceding this gig that I had to explain who Nick Cave was and had mentioned this song on numerous occasions. Hopefully I have converted at least one person to his music. The atmosphere was intoxicating with the band bathed in sinister red lights. Another Cave classic followed with a transcendent version of “The Mercy Seat”

I’d only just recomposed myself after the double whammy’s of “The Ship Song”/“Into My Arms” and “Girl in Amber”/”I Need You” when “Distant Sky” came along. With a video of Else Torp projected behind the band that added to the poignancy, the lyrics really hit me. It is such a personal song and an outpouring of grief from Cave with masterful violin from Ellis. Even as I type this and read the lyrics it is bringing a lump to my throat.

 

“They told us our gods would outlive us,

They told us our dreams would outlive us,

They told us our gods would outlive us,

But they lied.

 

Let us go now, my only companion,

Set out for the distant skies,

Soon the children will be rising, will be rising,

This is not for our eyes.”

 

And to follow this up with set closer “Skeleton Tree” with snow effects on the backdrop video and touching final lines of “and it’s alright now”. I’m emotionally exhausted by this point. And the encore is still to come.

Encore

This saw even more interaction from Cave with him making a foray into the audience. During “The Weeping Song” he once more jocularly engaged with the crowd, admonishing a fan off for not holding him up properly.

Penultimate song and massive crowd-pleaser “Stagger Lee” saw him inviting the fans at the front onto the stage. A melee of excited bodies singing, dancing, taking photos and videos and even stage diving as Cave sang. Every word being enthusiastically sung back at him.

“Push the Sky Away” ended the evening with Cave asking the punters on stage to sit down while he introduced/thanked the band to great applause. “You’ve got to just keep on pushing, keep on pushing….”

As he was leaving the stage with the band Cave announced “You don’t know how much this means – no really you don’t.” And I believed him.

It meant a lot to us too. I never ever thought that one of my favourite gigs would be in a venue like the Hydro. But the sheer emotion, interaction with the crowd and quality of the songs and the musicianship came together to make this one very special gig.

As I trudged through the rain back to my car, I smiled as I saw one punter who had been on the stage during “Stagger Lee”/”Push the Sky Away” recounting his experience with child-like enthusiasm to a group of his friends. A night they will never forget.

A night that will stay in all of our memories for some time to come.

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Damage & Joy Tour – Glasgow

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Live – 23rd September 2017

You wait years for one of your favourite bands to play a hometown gig. Then you see them three times within a couple of years (it would have been four if I’d managed to get a ticket for the 6Music show). Well it’s nearly hometown – I’m not sure the East Kilbride’s Bruce Hotel or The Village Inn would be big enough.

Since the Psychocandy re-union tours, The Jesus & Mary Chain have continued on a stellar resurgence resulting in some of the best live gigs in the band’s history.

Damage and Joy as an album sits right up with all the Jesus and Mary Chain classics. It is also head and shoulders above some of the insipid “indie” dross that made the Mercury Music Prize final shortlist. (Check back on the blog soon for a feature on a sterling post-punk band who were long-listed)

damage and Joy

This being the official tour of the album, Damage & Joy tracks would heavily feature. As it happened, the band plundered their entire back catalogue with non album singles and songs from Psychocandy, Darklands, Automatic, Honey’s Dead, & Munki.

The Van T’s went down well with early comers, and there were many of them. Being a Saturday night in the O2 ABC I’m sure that those in the know would have been ensuring they didn’t get caught out by the early curfew in the venue.

As regulars at gigs in the venue we took up our usual position and joked that we should “sponsor” the floor space, much like you can buy named bricks in your favourite teams football stadium.

The anticipation in the venue was palpable as we waited for the main event. The lights went down and a mighty roar went up as the Mary Chain took to the stage.

Damage and Joy – Live

They opened with Damage and Joy track “Amputation” and we were hit by an intense wall of sound and relentless light show. The song is one of the many highlights of the album, played live the band take it to another level. Love the “wine today, piss tomorrow” analogy in the song.

No chance to take a breath before appropriate Darkland’s favourite “Happy When it Rains” was swiftly followed by the raucous “Head On” from Automatic. (Interesting/useless fact time – when I saw Pixies recently playing their cover version at Kelvingrove Bandstand  it was the 3rd song they played too)

I knew by this time it was going to be a classic Mary Chain performance. Jim’s voice was commanding and distinct. The band was clamourous and solid.  William didn’t miss a note while skulking in the shadows stage right, obvious by his famous mop of hair.

The sound in the venue is great and I have enjoyed many gigs there. However, if I had one grumble tonight it was the presence of a larger than normal quota of arseholes. Nothing to do with the music. It only spoiled the night slightly and the music won out. But I do feel a ranty post about gig etiquette coming….

A trio of songs from Damage and Joy followed. With “Always Sad” we were treated to honeyed backing vocals from Bernadette Denning. “Black & Blues” and “Mood Driver” were next up with the band proving their new material is already up there with the classics.

Fan favourite from Automatic, “Between Planets” was followed by a sleazy  “Snakedriver”. The song with one of the best opening couplets in any song – not just in a Jesus and Mary Chain song. “I’ve got syphilitic hetero friends in every part of town, I don’t hate them but I know them, I don’t want them hanging round“.

Old and new combined and complimented each other with a sublime trio of “Teenage Lust”, Darklands “Cherry Came Too”, and the “Hey look out here it comes” of “All Things Must Pass”

The bands first top twenty hit “Some Candy Talking” got an airing with a vigorous reception and sing-a-long. Lets face it, every song was receiving a fervent reception with Jim humbly thanking us several times throughout the set. He certainly wasnt “tongue-tied and tied to the tongue” when it came to “Halfway to Crazy” providing a perfect version of the impassioned song.

Jim introduced the next song as Agadoo saying they hadn’t played the song for a while so it may be slightly ropey – then launched into a far from ropey perfect rendition of a crowd-pleaser in “Darklands”

It was time for the last song – yeah but we know it’s not. A searing “Reverence” was delivered with a blisteringly elongated intro. A perfect end to the main set.

Encore

The band returned with another backing vocalist with a divine velvety voice in Madeline Cassidy to treat us to the classic “Just Like Honey”. Don’t let anyone ever try to tell you the old myth that the Jesus and Mary Chain were all about feedback because they couldn’t play. The melodies and tunes that were always there endure and continue to be perfected.

“Cracking Up” gave us the nights first of two rambunctious tracks from the under-rated Munki album. Having toured the Psychocandy album extensively in recent years, we were still treated to a full throttle version of “In a Hole”.

Announcing the last song, Jim thanked the enthusiastic crowd once again before “War and Peace” ended the encore.

They think it’s all over – it is now

But it wasn’t over there. The band returned for a final time to an uproarious and appreciative audience to give us a cool purring “Sidewalking” ending in familiar cacophony. The bands final farewell and last words for the night came in the form of the brilliantly sneering “I Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll” with its thinly veiled swipes at the music industry.

 

As perfect a performance as I’ve seen from The Jesus and Mary Chain. They easily proved there is life in the old dogs and they can show the young whippersnappers how its done.