On 25th September, swarms of old rockers and new fans took over the Foundry for a triumphant set by one of British music’s greatest bands. The Jesus and Mary Chain was formed in the early 80s by Scottish brothers Jim and William Reid. Over 30 years later, they are the only two original members left, but this has not altered the power and magic of their live show, performing with the energy of a new band on the block.
Although the Jesus and Mary Chain reformed 10 years ago and have been touring ever since, this tour is a little different. It is the first tour to be supporting a new album in 19 years. 6 of the bands 22 track set came from Damage and Joy, their 2017 album, but most of these tracks were played near the beginning. ‘Amputation’ from this album served as the opener for the show, with driving guitars and and a soaring chorus suiting well to exciting the waiting audience. However, it was when ‘Happy When It Rains’ followed that the crowd really got what they had come for. The Jesus and Mary Chain’s new material always got a positive reaction, but it was clear that the audience was there to hear their classic tracks.
“It was clear that the audience was there to hear their classic tracks.”
The band has always been known for the perfect blend of William Reid’s harsh and distorted guitar, and William’s soft vocals; an element which has not changed from their albums or live shows in the past 35 years. The overdriven guitar sounds enveloped the audience with it’s bold but atmospheric aura and cut above the other blaring instruments. The ability of the sound enclosing the audience was probably benefitted by the sheer volume of the gig. It can be easily said the amps were turned up to 11 – no one was going to be leaving with any hearing ability left. William left sound to speak for itself, as unusually for a frontman, he had very little to say. Only pausing a couple of times between songs to say ‘thank you’, and then teasing an encore at the end, William gave no comment on the band’s history, journey or direction.
Ending the main set with the classic ‘Darklands’, the audience were very audible in their wish to get the band back on, as no one had had enough yet. Returning for the encore with their iconic 1985 track ‘Just Like Honey’, it was ironic that their most famous track is one of their quietest. Closing the encore with one of their new tracks ‘War on Peace’, the audience still wasn’t going anywhere, leading The Jesus and Mary Chain to come back for their second encore. Finally finishing with ‘I hate Rock n’ Roll’, it was obvious that nobody in the audience felt that way, and after the band’s triumphant 90 minute set, everybody loved rock n’ roll a little bit more.
Check out Forgepress.com to read an interview and live review of The Jesus and Mary Chain’s support act at the Foundry, Sugarmen.