Monday, June 25, 2007

Jesus and Mary Chain @ Meltdown



the video for the Mary Chains "You Trip Me Up", a gorgeous slice of guitar noise with the sweetest song buried underneath it. I bought it when it came out, in 1984 or so, and I did manage to see one of their early shows in Berlin's Loft club. It was packed, they were about an hour late, played for 22 minutes exactly, there was some problem with the mic stand after which Mr Jim Reid left the stage, the others played the rest of the song and then skulked off as well. No riot. Then I seriously fell in love with their Psychocandy album, just great songs. And I love the cover, and the look. This video, which I hadn't seen before, looks like the Psychocandy cover coming to life. And I used to look at it a lot, haha.

So last Friday I saw them play their first British show in 9 years, at Jarvis' marvellous Meltdown festival (also saw the "Forest of No Return" vintage Disney tribute gig, with among others !!!GAVIN FRIDAY!!!, Grace Jones, David Thomas, etc., and a mad, erm foggy, and very loud and full on sunn o))) show). Somehow it never felt like JAMC were really away, felt more like they had a long break. The good thing about reunions is that you can reassess the past, and play what people really want to hear. So this was as good a Mary Chain show I've ever seen, great setlist, starting with Never Understand, followed by many of their greatest snakeskinned elegant nihilistic noise pop hits, the brothers Reid in good form throughout, Sidewalking, Some Candy Talking, Snakedriver, Cracking Up etc. The (initially seated) audience was on their collective feet from the start and throughout and it just never sagged (even with some false starts, Just Like Honey needed to be started three times until Mr J Reid was apparently happy with it, but so what?) Encore started with "Syd Barrett where are you?" Vegetable Man, followed by a seriously great You Trip Me Up (I could spot a very happy mosh pit in the front) and the final song, Reverence. I was in ecstacy, hey!

Support came from another Scottish indie legend, the mighty Pastels with their woozy, curiously drifting pop mood pieces. They sounded tighter than I thought they would, though the moping eternal teenager vibe was still fairly pronounced, I guess, I'm not an expert but I like them (from a bit of a distance, only own one of their records, Truckload of Trouble). Such a good double bill, and, as Jarvis reminded everyone, the last time you could have seen this double bill would have been in 1985. (!)

Afterwards in the foyer the party continued with the 1990s, who were initially billed as the support act, and music til late, old punk, post punk, and other alternative party music, and in the last half an hour an absolutely brilliant plastic pillow fight to the tune of Teenage Kicks and These Boots Are Made For Walking and other brilliant tunes I can't remember anymore, probably cos I was drunk!

So welcome back Royal Festival Hall, and/or South Bank Centre. I love that place, I love the location by the river, the uncommercial *smoke free* atmosphere, the cool programming, the fact that this space can create these unique crossover events, nostalgia fests, contemporary utopian dreams etc. etc.

All together now: Sometimes I walk sideways...

2 comments:

Gavin said...

Sounds like the dancefloor was more lively than the Roky aftershow (Roky was fantastic though). How were the 1990's? Used to love The Yummy Fur.

thomas said...

1990s: really good, three piece, quite lively, though I was a bit distracted after the JAMC gig. yeah, the party really got going after a while :-) BTW I got your text after the sunn o))) gig but of course it was .. about two days late. I think it finished quite late anyway so probably wouldn't have been worth coming over...