The Jesus and Mary Chain + The Slow Readers Club @ o2 Institute, 31st March 2017

The Jesus and Mary Chain + The Slow Readers Club @ o2 Institute, 31st March 2017The Jesus and Mary Chain + The Slow Readers Club @ o2 Institute, 31st March 2017The Jesus and Mary Chain + The Slow Readers Club @ o2 Institute, 31st March 2017

jesus and mary chain

Tonight was going to be a night of firsts. First time that I had seen The Slow Readers Club (I don’t think it will be the last). The first time that I had seen The Jesus and Mary Chain (very surprising because of how into them I was as a teenager). And the first time that I got an Uber from a gig.

When you think of the legacy that The Jesus and Mary Chain have built in the 30 years that they have been around it is pretty awesome. If they hadn’t created their psychedelic fuelled, feedback driven rock music, would the shoegaze scene even have existed? Would bands like My Bloody Valentine, Ride or Slowdive have sounded the same? What would Nine Inch Nails have sounded like? (Trent Reznor has even cited their album “Darklands” as being a big influence). So it’s hard not to be at this gig and feel in awe of these two brothers from Scotland. This would be the first time that I have seen this band and so I was expecting the unexpected. Would they play for 20 minutes with their back to the audience and then leave the stage (like they used to) or was it to be a standard 1hr 30min affair? Time would tell.

This relatively cold evening in March got warmed up quite nicely with Manchester support band The Slow Readers Club. Their sound is quite familiar, reminding me of music similar to that of early White Lies and Editors, but with hints towards the 80s sounds of Depeche Mode. The lead singer has a very distinctive vocal and their sound feels very synth driven (even though I cannot see a synth in sight). Their lyrics were quite interesting and as the set moved on through the night they were clearly building support. Some stand out tracks were “Days like this will break your heart” and “Cavalcade” which I believe is the title of their album. Throughout the set there was a clear sense of thanks and humility and they must have been truly humbled by the standing ovation they received at the end. Their album is available now and is definitely worth a listen or two.

The Jesus and Mary Chain graced the stage at around 9:30pm launching with Amputation from their new album ‘Damage and Joy’. The lighting (or lack of lighting) set the mood perfectly. This was to be a dark and moody gig and the purple,red and green lighting with the occasional strobe for good measure just worked.

The set consisted of a good balance of tracks from the majority of their albums. I personally would have liked to have heard more from Honey’s Dead, but that’s the album that introduced me to the band in my teenage years. The gig was a fairly civilised affair with a few pockets of pogoing going on towards the front of the stage. What was lacking in dancing was made up with enthusiasm towards the tracks from the crowd. There were definitely fans in the venue that knew every single word to every single track played in the set, and that included the new album (that had only been out for a week).

The tracks that they played from the new record were received well, but reaction to tracks from their 80s albums was definitely better. From April Skies (with it’s sing-a-long feel) to the brilliant pogoing of Far Gone and Out and glorious Cherry Came Too there was something for every generation that the band’s music touched. Track of the night definitely went to 1992s Reverence which just saw the venue come alive, actually that sounds as though it wasn’t alive before that – it was a stunning mix of beautiful noise and mosh pits that made me feel like I was 16 again.

The encore began with Just Like Honey and stayed with debut album Psychocandy for the majority. The Reid brothers are not a talkative pair but there was a point during the encore where Jim let his guard down and informed the crowd that he’d sung one of the tracks “in the wrong fucking key for about half of that.” He thanked the crowd and the gig actually ended with new track War on Peace a track of two halves that for the final minute allowed the crowd to have one last dance.

The Jesus and Mary Chain continue to create music that is just fuzz-filled joy. This wasn’t a 20 minute set with their back to the audience, instead they helped craft a new love of a genre that’s enjoying a comeback. Their phenomenal feedback sound, that captured a generation, continues to be glorious even during the civilised affair that was tonight. I hope I get to see them again soon.

Jesus and Mary Chain Setlist

Amputation (Damage & Joy)
April Skies (Darklands)
Head On (Automatic)
Far Gone and Out (Honey’s Dead)
Between Planets (Automatic)
Blues From a Gun (Automatic)
Always Sad (Damage & Joy)
Mood Rider (Damage & Joy)
Teenage Lust (Honey’s Dead)
Cherry Came Too (Darklands)
The Hardest Walk (Psychocandy)
All Things Pass (Damage & Joy)
Some Candy Talking (Darklands)
Half Way To Crazy (Automatic)
Reverence (Honey’s Dead)

Nine Million Rainy Days (Darklands)
Just Like Honey (Psychocandy)
You Trip Me Up (Psychocandy)
The Living End (Psychocandy)
Taste of Cindy (Psychocandy)
War on Peace (Damage & Joy)

Review: Imran Khan

Photographs: Ian Dunn


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