The Jesus and Mary Chain at O2 ABC, 31/8/16

The Jesus and Mary Chain walk on stage for their second night at the ABC.

A sombre moment with Jim Reid dedicating the set to Gary Watson, who along with his band mates were scheduled to support the Mary Chain this evening.

 

Heartfelt, if anything a bit harder hitting, as it would have been a symbolic move from one East Kilbride band to another.

It was written once in a now defunct music magazine “the west of Scotland does the Velvet Underground very well,” clearly written with the Mary Chain in mind.

The level to which Psycho Candy still sounds exciting today, is the reason that the crowd does have a percentage of Urban outfitters employees as well as dad’s in Next jeans.

A weird thought does occur that this is Scottish dad rock, just as Stone Roses is English dad rock; like comparing the Daily Record to The Sun.

The front of house has the snare compressed within an inch of its life, faithfully recreating the flabby sound of an Alesis hr16 that was used on the later albums.

A second guitar reinforces Jim Reid on stage, slicing the mix with sheets of feedback from a pair of Fender Twins.

The setlist feels as smooth as an album playback, with the volume and noise balancing the fine line.

‘Head on’ and ‘Blues from a Gun’ pound away, whereas ‘April Skies’ sounds like Big Country with a heroic two-note guitar lead.

The home run starts mid way through with ‘Some Candy Talking’.

Psycho Candy has proved to have a legacy on its own, sections as noisy as the Dead C and playful as the Dum Dum Girls, the album’s spectrum covers a large section of the music of the following 20-years.

Understandable why it isn’t Darklands’ cover on the backing banner.

As the debut, it set a template for their sound perfectly from the get go, a curse familiar with band that throughout history have appeared fully formed.

Fulfilling the promise of earlier alternative bands such as the Fire Engines, The Jesus and Mary Chain kept the abrasiveness and incorporated the motifs from classic song writing within falling into tweeness of the sound associated with Glasgow and Postcard Records.

The legendary aggression of their 1980s shows is long gone; though the songs and the sound of the band remain.

The mix of the crowd stands to highlight that through this the inherent qualities of smart, dark and uneasiness (dare I say that are national characteristics artistically?) are still communicating, and with reflection of an emotional aspect The Jesus and Mary Chain display how much of an important band they are in the realms of alternative music; not just nationally but internationally.

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Words: Paul Choi
Photos: Cameron Brisbane

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