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.
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.