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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

The Jesus and Mary Chain - Barrowlands 23/11/14 (Glasgow)

The nights of every riot being a mini revolution may well have been left behind by The Jesus and Mary Chain, and similarly the late appearances and early finishes as a statement of truculent defiance are gone to, but there is no denying that the power has not diminished in the near thirty years since they gave the world psychocandy.

Live they still exude a great deal more raw menace and primal emotion than any band that they spawned in their wake.

They still push everything to the point of brutality and then touch you with the butterfly kiss.

Very often you never really know if you should swoon or duck when in their presence.
Yet for the iconic Barrowlands Ballroom crowd - on the second night of a couple of sold out dates - it is very obviously the former, as amongst the maelstrom of feedback and fuzz there is an innate understanding of how far is enough, and how far is too far.
Symbiotically the audience by and large get it, and they do indeed swoon when they aren’t being buffeted by the force of the hurricane performance.
The volume could of course lend itself to some jumping to the assumption that a degree of intimacy could be lost, but they would be wrong.
No matter how distorted they push the levels of their sound to, regardless of the amount of feedback applied, they are fully aware of when to apply pressure and when to release it.
And therein is probably where the magic of the Jesus and Mary Chain lies.

In the intervening years between the release of psychocandy and the present we have seen many words having been written about it.
Some to raise it up as an iconic watershed album, and others to dismiss it as a short sharp burst that outside the first flush of excitement doesn't stand up to a heavy critique.
The latter would argue that the band are mere musical magpies that picked up the shiny shiny from the Velvet Underground, Phil Spector and Suicide and ran with it, but when they do this it just draws attention to how they have missed much of the point.
It’s not about the separate influences, but the melding of them.
They simply fall short of grasping that the sum of their parts should never be the benchmark that the band are judged by, and instead that the focus should always be firmly angled towards the whole.
If they could embrace that then it would be difficult for them to deny that the whole is a wondrous layering of noise that often builds to a cacophonous release that pushes for an emotional response rather than anything else, and it did partially change the direction of where music was heading.

And even if that is still beyond their grasps then the testament of the live shows themselves casually evidences that those who do consider them a pivotal act and laud them as such are probably right.

It’s doubtful that anyone who was bathed in the strobing light show in the Barrowlands could disagree as the Jesus and Mary Chain delivered on every single promise that was made in 1985.

It’s very obvious that the Reid brothers and co are not looking to take any prisoners on this tour.
So it’s probably best to just put your arms up and surrender now.

Easier to just go with it rather than resist.

Next year people will look back and claim that the album and the anniversary tour were equally as important in the bands career.
So don't miss them.

1 comment:

  1. Fantastic read, ah looks like I missed out on a real thriller!