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6th December 2014

Live: The Jesus and Mary Chain

The Jesus and Mary Chain still have that air of Exploding Plastic Inevitable parties

20th November



The Jesus and Mary Chain played the Manchester Academy 1 as part of their trio of highly anticipated UK gigs on the 20th of November. The elevated ticket prices ensured the crowd was old enough to know that ‘Some Candy Talking’ isn’t about personified fruit winders, and the speed at which they sold out ensured the tickets were reserved for the fans, the grey haired veterans favoured by natural selection—the ones left after the punk’s game of musical chairs.

With a band so notorious for spreading misinformation in interviews, it’s difficult to untangle the fact and the fiction. The fact is that this tour is centred on Psychocandy—the 1985 album at the dark heart of JAMC’s cultism. Around this time they rarely got through more than two or three tracks before the crowd turned too ugly to go on; at North London Polytechnic a riot allegedly ensued. It makes sense to honour the fans who missed out on seeing the whole album, though, by coming back and playing it back to back. But they did this with a hint of their old malice by announcing they’d play the encore first.

After being treated to a warped best-of, they launched into Psychocandy with ‘Just Like Honey’, and it was clear that the band still have that air of Phil Spektor orchestrating one of The Velvet Underground’s Exploding Plastic Inevitable parties. Plumes of guitar distortion lapped at the crowed and tangled with the thick smoke to turn the Academy 1 into a reverb drenched hammam. A mid-lifer next to me spent his whole night with his eyes closed in trance, miming each and every word pronounced by Jim Reid. What he was thinking—if anything—will remain a mystery.

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