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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.

Sunday 23 November 2014

Then we win

This is a public service announcement sans guitars.
We have always wanted to say that.
This is the season for bastardising Clash lyrics.

So let’s get right down to it.
We would like to take this opportunity to extend our gratitude to the person(s) who carried out the act of petty vandalism which was tearing down and smashing our shop signage.

The reason that we are thankful is that they have just highlighted to us - and everyone who will become aware of what has happened - that we are incrementally winning the hearts and minds of the artistic community, and public, by promoting ethical practices over the lust for accruing filthy lucre.
If we weren't then it would have been easier to just leave us to wither on the vine due to lack of support.
That the decision has been made to do something about us - with this being a rather pathetic opening salvo fired across our bows – just draws attention to our minor early day successes in the many positive ventures we are undertaking.

This is simply an advert for NHC now.

So once again thank you.

Of course we could be accused of being paranoid, and some could claim that this incident is simply a random act of vandalism.
In isolation we would happily accept that, but with the ongoing removal of our posters, while those around them are left untouched, and the fact that it was our signage removed, while other businesses were left alone, says a great deal and we no longer consider that we are adding two and two together and getting five.

Also there is one other thing we would like to state, and that is that we don’t for a second consider that the person(s) who would carry out such a petty act of vandalism is/are linked to any other record shop.
Record shop owners and those who work in them are all fundamentally passionate music fans and appreciate that there is enough room for everyone.
Not for one second should anyone consider that we suspect any of our peers of doing this.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, comment on it, or share it.
We are of course happy to answer any questions posed.

The NHC team.

Monday 17 November 2014

Fire & Ice - Rank Berry, Soul Remover. 12 and 13 Dec.

 As someone who has been kicking about on the fringes of the music scene for a number of years I will admit that when I hear the words 'showcase gig' I usually internally translate it to 'ripping off young talent by promising them the world gig'.
It's easy to do as nine times out of ten that is exactly what they are.
No movers or shakers are ever there, no one is going to sign anyone up, and the deal is always that the bands have to sell tickets.

However there is always that one out of ten who are the genuine deal and the Fire and Ice event is that rare beast.
I know this to be a fact as being co-manager to Rank Berry I am aware of all the ins and outs of participating in the event.

It's all pretty simple really.

Turn up and play and dependent on how good you are then you can possibly secure a slot on the Wildfire festival bill.

That's it.

It's not about how many people an act can bring to the show, but purely a case of the organizers being able to get a feel for how a shortlisted bunch of quality acts can cut it live.

Of course the band can sell tickets if they want, but don't have to.
If they do they can get a cut (a fair one) and even if they don't then if the night is a success ( and why wouldn't it be) they will get something.
It was wonderfully refreshing not to have to negotiate a deal as all the angles were covered very professionally from the start.
Even better was getting an email with every detail you could think of included.
Load in times, soundchecks, equipment that will be on hand.
It was all there.

So hats off to Dave Ritchie and his team for providing an exemplary example of how putting a gig together should be done.

I love bullshit free arrangements. :)

Tickets for the gig are £6 per night, or £10 for both and you can get them from here.

However Rank Berry will have them in a few days and if you want one for the Friday night just get in touch with us at Rank Berry.
For the £6 we are going to throw in a copy of the debut ep as well.
We are pretty damn cool aint we?
Also pop along to the NHC and you can pick tickets up there with no booking fee. (Same deal with the ep included)