Live Review: The Jesus and Mary Chain + Cold Cave – VoxHall – 05.10.2017
Photo by: Steffen Jørgensen, https://photo.stffn.dk
The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Thursday-performance at VoxHall was the first one to launch the band’s European tour in honor of the new album Damage and Joy’s release. The highly anticipated show was welcomed warmly by the audience and was consistently brilliant throughout, with only a minor exception.
The evening started with the performance of Cold Cave, a synthpop/post-punk/darkwave artist from the US. The live setting of Wesley Eisold himself as vocals and the band which operated on several pieces of modular analog equipment, live drums and frequent tuning in of an electric guitar, turned out to be a perfect match to showcase both electronic and guitar music directions in Cold Cave’s sound.
Although Cold Cave’s style is entirely different from the one of The Jesus and Mary Chain, the resemblance of the two groups proved to be greater than one would be likely to assume. Simple and thus memorable melodies, the underlying post-punk vibe, a rather distant and uncomfortable stage presence are only several lines between the dots connecting acts that emerged more than 20 years apart. At the end of the day, Cold Cave’s calculated and beat-driven yet reverb-saturated sound is an excellent combination of many things that have been happening throughout the history the aforementioned and neighboring genres. The Jesus and Mary Chain, in fact, were some of the first influential acts to attain worldwide influence in that history. Thus, the pairing reflected the full circle of the noise pop/synthpop journey quite well.
The Jesus and Mary Chain
This Scottish band, established in 1983 by brothers Jim and William Reid, started out their show at VoxHall with Amputation, the first statement-track from Damage and Joy, which came out almost 20 years after their previous full-length Munki. The track that says “I’m a rock’n’roll amputation”. Very symbolic indeed.
Damage and Joy consist of 14 tracks, 7 of which have been previously released throughout the famously inconsistent band’s career. The album includes both the band’s trademark hazy, dozed-off shoegazy pieces as well as noisy, rhythm-driven, yet still mellow rock’n’roll-ish tunes and a spectrum of things in between. The setlist for the Thursday’s performance appeared to be designed to reflect exactly that in the scope of the whole career of The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Already an hour before the concert there was quite a solid bunch of individuals lined up by the door. By 9, VoxHall was crowded with a mixture of the band’s fans, likely since the 80’s or 90’s and a fair amount of young faces who might have been influenced by the rebirth of noise pop/post punk/shoegaze scene or newly famous vintage records of bands like Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine or dating as back as Velvet Underground.
While listening to The Jesus and Mary Chain live in 2017, one might realize that everything has been done before, and a significant part of it was done by The Jesus and Mary Chain. It would be pointless to name countless references (oh, did you hear this chord progression prominent in most blink 182 songs, this guitar arpeggio the Killers did at least a couple of albums on; how about this particular nuance that is My Bloody Valentine?). One thing is for sure though: certain songs of the evening’s leading act would be a sufficient source of inspiration for many to build an album or an entire career out of.
The encore-part of the show, however, deserves a separate overview. After Jim announced the last song of the show, Reverence, he also promised to come back for an encore if the audience pleases. The encore, for which the band didn’t make the crowd ask for longer than a minute, contained 4 more tracks, including Just Like Honey, for which William Reid’s girlfriend Bernadette Denning came on stage to do some backing vocals. After War on Peace the band left the stage, yet just to come back again for two more songs, making almost a parody out of the whole encore thing. Which essentially felt a little awkward indeed. Apparently, The Jesus and Mary Chain had 2 encores planned for the evening, so although a great part of the audience was leaving or had already left, they persisted on making up for all these 20-minute gigs they had done in the past.
The show was great nonetheless.
The Jesus and Mary Chain provided a brilliant performance masterfully interchanging in the amplitude between noisy, thick, sharp and groovy intensity along with subtle, sweet and soothing gloominess. The supporting act Cold Cave’s first show in Aarhus was one of quality as well. The headliner, however, fell a bit off the grid doubling the encoring section. (5.5/6)