tue 28/05/2024

The Jesus & Mary Chain, Institute, Birmingham | reviews, news & interviews

The Jesus & Mary Chain, Institute, Birmingham

The Jesus & Mary Chain, Institute, Birmingham

An evening of gnarly rock’n’roll and, finally, some new material from the Reid Brothers

Feral: William and Jim Reid

After a career that initially came to an abrupt end amid sibling fisticuffs on a stage in Canada during the dying embers of the Twentieth Century, the Jesus & Mary Chain have taken some time to ease themselves back into being a real going concern. Reforming a decade ago to tour their old material, it has taken until now for them to take the plunge and release Damage & Joy, their first new album in 19 years.

Nevertheless, the wait has been worthwhile, as the reaction to tunes old and new from the crowd at Birmingham’s Institute duly confirmed. While the Reid brothers may have found a way to get on with each other offstage these days, on stage they are still the purveyors of a gnarly brand of rock’n’roll that can pack concert venues and certainly got a fair few Brummies bouncing around.

On stage, darkness and dry ice predominated

The stage of the Institute had been enveloped in industrial quantities of dry ice for quite some time before the lights suddenly all turned red and the Jesus & Mary Chain ambled on and to tear straight into “Amputation”, the lively opening track of Damage & Joy, to an initially static but appreciative crowd. Flying into old favourites like “April Skies” and “Far Out & Gone”, we were then treated to a thrilling set pulled from their first four albums as well as a hefty dose of the new stuff, but nothing from their mid-to-late nineties repertoire.

More mellow tunes, like the evergreen “Just Like Honey”, “Nine Million Rainy Days” and “Always Sad”, were given an airing throughout the evening. However, the molasses-like groove of “Teenage Lust” and almost anthemic “Some Candy Talking”, with its feedback-laced guitar solo, provided balance to a show that had plenty of sonic light and darkness. On stage, however, darkness and dry ice predominated, with a noticeably more animated and less awkward Jim Reid than in times past at the front of the stage and everyone else lost in fog at the back. William Reid’s greying H-Bomb hairstyle was just about visible as it bobbed up and down while he attacked his guitar like a hip mad professor.

Finishing off their main set with a rip-roaring “Reverence” and its Stooges-vamping guitar riff, screaming feedback and funky drumming, the band wandered off stage with their instruments leaning against their amps, giving off enough serious white noise to have some in the crowd covering their ears. As a rock’n’roll custom that they resolutely used to defy dictates, however, the Mary Chain were soon back with a string of magnificent tunes from their landmark debut album Psychocandy.

As they ripped through such feral assaults on the human eardrum as “The Living End”, “You Trip Me Up” and “Taste of Cindy”, a good number of the audience were soon going bonkers and may very well have been feeling their age the next morning. But these things are surely worth it.

Read more New Music reviews on theartsdesk

Watch the video for "Amputation"

The instruments gave off enough white noise to have some in the crowd covering their ears


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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