Kilbride’s finest export The Jesus and Mary Chain brought their signature Hadrian Wall of Sound to the Powerstation in Auckland, New Zealand last night and it would have made the infamous Phil Spector proud.
Kiwi Goth-Glam-Psych-Grunge-Punk band Shoddy started the night with a 'colourful' set of songs by Witchy Dugdale (lead vocals/guitar), Toby King (bass), Thomas Pembroke (drums) and Daniel Pickstone (saxophone, percussion, backing vocals and iPhone).
The brothers, Jim and William Reid and their band graced the stage at a packed Powerstation on a Monday night. After a nod and arm up in acknowledgement to the crowd, JAMC quickly got on with their set... kicking off with Amputation from their latest album Damage And Joy. The sound was great and, with electric fans cranked up for maximum effect (probably there to stop the amps blowing up later), the snare and fuzzy riffs were fiercely belted out relentlessly from the stage.
The opening track was closely followed by April Skies off their 1987 album Darklands. It sounded as fresh as I am sure it was back in the day. The classic riffs and fuzzy guitar sound from the elder William, accompanied by the moody dark vocals of Jim Reid made time stand still. Mark Crozer (bass) and Scott Von Ryper (guitars) with Brian Young (ex Fountains of Wayne) on drums completed the lineup.
The lighting on stage was quite unique and set the tone for the rest of the night. It’s not often when there is more light on the audience than the band, but the harsh shadows and strobe effect created an eerie and gothic tone which fitted incredibly well with the band’s sound.
This is where you have to call out William Reid on guitar. With an uncanny resemblance to Tim Burton, William has provided the band with the sound that embodies the unique fuzzy dark vibe of the band that thrives on angst and pain. Sometimes it seemed he was in a world of his own, facing twin speakers and Orange amps with his trademark hair glowing in the shadows. The odd nod to Jim and the band was good enough to kick off epic songs one after the other.
The Jesus and Mary Chain has one of the best band names around (in this writer’s opinion). Unlike so many of their peers in the late 80s and early 90s, who are now springing up trying to recapture days gone past or at least top up their bank accounts, this band is as relevant today as it was way back when they started in the early 80s. With a large number of tracks coming off their last album, there was still a wonderful smattering of classics and surprises during the night, showcasing their longevity and influential sound.
JAMC must have ignited bands like BRMC and early Dandy Warhols to get together, pick up a guitar and just make some noise. The audience reflected the long span of the band’s years together, which was great and a true testament to their staying power and appeal to the different ages that were there last night.
Not one for words, Jim and the band kept to the music script. We’ve all been to concerts where we’ve wished the lead singer would just sing rather than talk about the world’s problems and what we can do to make them better. No problems with that here: Jim simply started going through their catalogue with little chatter and concentrated on delivering what the audience came for….. the music and the continual journey into the Darklands.
It was great to see the band pick out songs from a number of their albums like Head On, and Blues From A Gun off Automatic, Black And Blues and Mood Rider off Damage And Joy, Far Gone And Out and Teenage Lust off Honey’s Dead, and Snakedriver off the dark original soundtrack from cult movie The Crow featuring the late Brandon Lee. It would have been even more monumental if we had younger sister, Linda Reid or better known as Sister Vanilla also on stage to sing Some Candy Talking and Just Like Honey alongside her brother... maybe next time!
A quick message from Jim saying “it’s good to be here” and the last two tracks were played, Darklands and Reverence. Both delivered in style before the set was over, much to the disappointment of the crowd.
Plenty of hooting and yelling followed and the band were back to finish off the night with an extended encore. Just Like Honey off Psychocandy took us all back to where it all began. It’s got a drum beat off The Ronettes' Be My Baby (produced by Phil Spector) and while the band explained they didn’t mean that to be the case, it was great to hear the song live with a nod to one of their key influencers.
Cracking Up, In A Hole, War On Peace and closing with the aptly named I Hate Rock N Roll, off their singles collection 21 Songs, and it was all over.
Jim Reid said halfway through the last set “you know we might not look like we are enjoying ourselves but we are” and looking around when The Jesus and Mary Chain ended their show, it appeared so did everyone else.
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Released: 24 Mar 2017