The Jesus and Mary Chain + Tess Parks @ The Institute, 25th February 2015


It’s a special night, not only are the Jesus and Mary Chain playing together again, but they’re playing their iconic ‘Psychocandy’ album in its entirety. This promises to be a great evening.


Support for this UK Tour was offered, I believe, to local artists, with a different support in each venue. Tonight we have Tess Parks, which causes some confusion as she’s neither from Brum or England, in fact she’s American but spent quite some time in London, and has had quite a step-up from Alan McGee no less, however, tonight’s thirty minute set fails to inspire, the vocals are monotone and the songs sound similar, so similar it’s hard to recall one specific song.

TP02 TP04

Tonight’s gig isn’t sold out, which really surprises given it’s not only the Mary Chain playing live (who’d have thought that would happen again) but the fact they’re playing the wonderful ‘Psychocandy’ album in full (which is a common thing these days for many bands from the eighties). It’s hard to believe this album was released thirty years ago, and a vast proportion of the audience certainly weren’t even a glint in their parents’ eyes back then, but it’s encouraging to see a new generation are listening to and seeing the Mary Chain. With a stage barely visible through dry ice, backlit, it’s just like the old days, all that is missing is the mass of black back-combed hair and shades.


A first set of songs kicks off with ‘April Skies’, the sound is spot-on, the vocals set low to represent the studio recordings perfectly, and then after approximately twenty minutes the band leave, a short film is projected on the five vertical back-screens and ‘Just Like Honey’ starts, the feedback is immense, the bass pummelling, and centre stage, draped over the microphone is Jim. It’s awesome. The set continues as expected through the album, with differing back projections of psychodelic images and old black and white film footage. Perfect.

There’s no between song chat, there’s a job to do here and the very few words offered are at the end of the gig “Thanks for coming, hope you enjoyed it”. A final nod to the eighties is the scrolling ‘game over’  over the backdrops (often the end of those first Atari and other computer games).


If you love music, music that defined an era, then you will be familiar with the ‘Psychocandy’ album and so don’t need me to go through track by track. Of course if you haven’t got the album then first job for you is to get it.

Listen to it, loud! Then think this was made thirty years ago. There are many pretenders today, but some can only dream of coming close to such a piece of work. This was a truly stunning gig, and for a brief moment in time the clock was rolled back. ; Fabulous.


Of course there can’t be all positives, and yet again there were those idiots who spent the night shouting to each other. Then there are those over six feet tall who always seem to gravitate towards the front or shortest people in the room. Personally it’s a shame those over a certain height can’t be given a wristband and made to stand at the back (where they can still see) and allow others more vertically challenged to then get a chance. The chatterers of course should be given a sticky toffee or better still sent out the fire-exit.

The Mary Chain continue to tour the ‘Psychocandy’ album throughout the UK, catch them if you can, miss them and you’ll regret it.

They could have done the show in any number of ways, fancy lights, fancy backdrop or even have changed the running order around, but they didn’t and they got it perfect.

With any luck the brothers Reid may just be inspired to enter the studio again, it’s been far too long since the last output (over fifteen years). Who knows maybe these gigs will be just the encouragement they need.


April Skies

Head On

Some Candy Talking


Up Too High


Upside Down


Just Like Honey

The Living End

Taste the Floor

The Hardest Walk

Cut Dead

In a Hole

Taste of Cindy

Never Understand

Inside Me

Sowing Seeds

My Little Underground

You Trip Me Up

Something’s Wrong

It’s So Hard


Review: Glenn Raybone

Photographs: Ian Dunn

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