wed 29/05/2024

The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow review - Nineties style, Sixties sounds | reviews, news & interviews

The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow review - Nineties style, Sixties sounds

The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Barrowland Ballroom, Glasgow review - Nineties style, Sixties sounds

Classic kookiness from one of the most prolific bands of the last 30 years

The Brian Jonestown MassacreBrian Jonestown Massacre (C) Olga Dyer

The Brian Jonestown Massacre has been described as many things over the years, but lazy cannot be one. Whilst they’ve pretty much always been a band just on the periphery of the big time, they’re surely some of the busiest guys in rock and roll.

The band’s 20th studio album, The Future is Your Past is out on 10th February, a mere seven months after its predecessor, Fire Doesn’t Grow on Trees, and their latest tour sees 26 dates in the UK and Europe in just over a month.

The album’s rooted in The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s signature swirling psychedelia, though their Barrowlands gig on Sunday had a heavy injection of dirty Nineties grunge to boot. Sitar style drones were abundant in the guitars, reminiscent of the influence of the subcontinent on many Sixties musicians, but the slightly murky, shoe-gazey undercurrent brought a distinct flavour of the decade the band was formed. 

Leader and founder Anton Newcombe – who’s known for his erraticism and sometimes brusque behaviour – twice stops mid track to tweak the tempo. The band restart and finish the song – at pretty much exactly the same speed. He also pauses frequently to adjust the tuning. Of course, the crowd is given a far different aural picture to what’s going on on stage so it’s hard to tell exactly how necessary this was, but it’s evident Newcombe’s a perfectionist. Perhaps that’s partly to blame for his slightly awkward reputation.

I have been chastised in the past for dwelling too much on the support act in reviews. That is just as well, as I’m not particularly well qualified to comment on a Cockney magician/comedian who talks like Phil Mitchell and dresses like the Gallagher brothers. He was certainly entertaining, bringing a fun vibe, although seemed an odd choice, especially for Glasgow. One can always count on BJM to do something a bit leftfield, though it did make me wonder if Newcombe has come across Limmy yet. 

For all its idiosyncrasies, this was a top notch gig in a top notch venue, from a band that continues to push itself and shows no signs of slowing down. Despite being into its fourth decade BJM is still coming up with fresh musical ideas; let’s see what wackiness its future holds!

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