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Review: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Newcastle 02 Academy

The Jesus and Mary Chain stir memories with a thrilling North East gig of clattering and battering with tunes

The Jesus And Mary Chain in January 1986
The Jesus And Mary Chain in January 1986

Their gigs ended in violence, they played 15-minute sets and a fresh-faced Bobby Gillespie started his musical life as their drummer.

For a band then so obviously steeped in the moment and the youthful vigour of their post-punk fury, a tour to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their riot-inducing debut album, Psychocandy, might appear incongruous.

But that would be nonsense.

Infused with the spirit of their younger years, this is a band still purveying cocksure confidence, ferociously loud guitars and killer tunes.

And I quite like to hear an album all in one go, actually. It’s a moment in time, a snapshot, and if it’s good, it will endure.

And Psychocandy, in its brilliant union of delicious pop hooks and disgusting feedback, has certainly stood the test and it’s done so loudly.

But first, some hits.

The brothers Reid, Jim on vocals and William on guitar, never ones to care for formality, play a gig in reverse with April Skies, Head On, a sublime Some Candy Talking and then Psychocandy before the main event.

It starts a touch too quietly and, dare I say, timidly, but gets better as it gets louder. By the time Reverence arrives it feels like I’ve got my head inside a cowbell that’s being clanged by a saw. This is good thing. It is ferocious.

A short break and then the Psychocandy LP.

It’s all here and is thrillingly visceral still. Just Like Honey – which found belated global fame in the Scarlett Johansson film, Lost In Translation – is a lovely calm before the storm, sweet and simple. But mostly it is furious, a clattering and a battering but with tunes – The Hardest Walk and The Living End are two of these furious beauties.

But You Trip Me Up is the high point. “Sometimes I walk sideways, to avoid you,” Jim sings, proving that even drenched in feedback, lyrics can whisper their magic.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
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