Concert Review: The Jesus And Mary Chain

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By Brendhan Lovegrove

Artist: The Jesus And Mary Chain

Date / Venue: Monday March 4th, 2019 - The Powerstation, Auckland

The Jesus and Mary Chain are an extremely important band, so who dares open for them? Well, lemme tell ‘ya, a mind-blowing New Zealand band called Shoddy. Big task, but the kiwi-brother, lead singer in a frock nailed it. The lead singer? Of course he’s in a ball dress alongside a lead guitar, a bass guitar, and a saxophone. I thought to myself, ‘Well this is going to be different,’ and it was. It was original and cool and atmospheric and heavy. They were the perfect support act for one of the world’s most important alternative bands, consisting of Jim and William Reid.

Having seen the Jesus and Mary Chain in 2003 Edinburgh, Scotland, I was wondering what to expect. With the reputation of being cathartic and nihilistic, I wonder, “What the fuck am I about to see?” To answer that question, musically, it was excellent straight off the bat.

The songs from their latest album, Damage and Joy, were just as hard-edged and as musically rock n' roll as any of their earlier greatest hits. Jim Reid isn’t known for having an excellent voice, but this was the best I’ve ever heard him sing. Without meaning to communicate in any way with the crowd, he was on point. He didn’t say anything. He didn’t talk to the crowd. They just walked on and played their songs from start to finish. This wasn't about “Yes sir, no sir.” No regard for the audience, and so it should be, this was about the music, full stop.

Tonight was all about watching a band playing their alternative psychedelic guitar-driven rock n’ roll to the utmost standard. For Jesus and Mary Chain fans it was an experience to watch the band in their prime. Gone were the youthful outrageous antics. Just a band, truly exhibiting their musical dominance. But it was plain for everyone to see this was the real deal. No gimmick. Honest anarchy at its finest. East Kilbride. Very few bands come through with the pedigree of Jesus and Mary Chain, and very few can deliver to the height of expectation that they can. The audience was really into the music. We all knew who we had come to see. They hadn’t lost anything in their song writing, they were masterful.

But with William Reid’s beautiful genuine gothic guitar interpretations, that paint a grim, albeit optimistic sound, it’s no wonder that the Mary Chain are upheld as important as they truly are. Song after song, whether it be their latest music, or their oldest, it was a band playing to the highest calibre. Even during the encore Just like Honey it was evident that this was by no means an old song in any old repertoire, this was an absolute classic.

Walking outside, I realised The Jesus & Mary Chain at The Powerstation was a bucket list experience for any musical connoisseur. They may be in their late to mid-fifties but they are without a doubt, in 2019, at the pinnacle of their musical ability. It’s no secret that guitar music is on the wane, but you wouldn't have known it tonight when it reigned supreme, and good luck to any other musical genre who pretends to find itself on the same rock n roll equilibrium. Good Luck! It was rock n roll excellence and it was there for everyone to see. I’m going to give it five stars out of five…but what did I expect? It was the Jesus & Mary Chain.