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Jesus and The Mary Chain

  03/27/12 03:59, by , Categories: BFMN Exclusive, Review, Carox , Tags: carox, east kilbride, house of blues, jesus and the mary chain, light fm, smashing pumpkins
Carox from Houston, TX

Photos and Review by Carox

Scottish folk have a sense of kindred pride that lasts a lifetime, so a severe head cold and several doses of anti-cold medicine were not going to prevent me from attending an event that I could “smell” was going to be a good one. Two nights before their show in SXSW Austin, on March 13, 2012, Jesus and the Mary Chain returned to Houston to play one of their first reunion gigs in a mini-tour of Texas.

Click through for the review and photo set link!

Click here for Carox’s JAMC photoset from House of Blues, Houston

Standing outside the House of Blues, Houston verified that my sense of “what’s cool” had proven right. The escalators were full of fans, the doors were open and streaming in a variety of ages, accents, fashions and looks, but they were all coming with a self-absorbed determination that made me realize just how popular this band remains to day.

The band roots are in humble East Kilbride, near Glasgow Scotland, where much of their music was written whilst on the dole under Margaret Thatcher’s Britain. At that time, unemployment in Scotland was high and industries such as the steel industry being hit by recession and closures. It was in the 1980s that many bands burst out of Scotland into mainstream, having had great success with (then fairly new) Indie charts and being taken under the wings of Alan McGee of Creation Records.

In the 1980’s this band became notorious for short sets, apparently violent crowds, riots and being censored for lyrics that were purportedly about drugs. In spite of years passing since then, the anticipation of something happening at their gigs fuelled interest, and you could feel this tension in the die-hard JAMC crowd at the HOB.

Currently touring with the band founders, brothers Jim Reid (vocalist) and William Reid (lead guitar), were Brian Young (drums), John Moore (guitarist from early days JAMC) and Phil King (bass). All three of these supporting musicians have an independent history and name in their own right. Late last year all six of the “JMAC” studio albums were re-released, so I was looking forward to hearing them live in this rare performance. In spite of a late arrival to the venue, and I should imagine a touch of jet lag, they were ready to play.

The supporting band, Light FM from Los Angeles, is a four-piece with Josiah Mazzaschi on lead guitars and lead vocals, Nicki Nevlin on bass, Jimmy Lucido on drums and Ihui Cherise Wu on keyboards and backing vocals. This band recently toured with the Smashing Pumpkins.

They played an original, upbeat, indy-boppy set including: Mercy, Black Magic Marker, Homeless Love Anthem, Last Chance, Love Slips Away, Friends Aren’t Friends, Meaning of It All and Waiting Room.

When Jesus and The Mary Chain (or as the in crowd call them, JAMC) stepped out on the stage there was a great crowd response. The band members all wore suit jackets and stood still during the entire performance. This was nothing to do with the fact they are older now, but is part of their image. They are here to give you the music they are so proud of creating, and dare you to do something about it.

Within a couple of songs the audience was already becoming a seething, jiggling, jumping crowd because JAMC music works like that. Jim Reid plunged confidently into the set and warmed up, since it was impossible not to see the crowd response. Jim Reid does not introduce the songs and he does not banter with the crowd very often which adds to the mystique of a performance by JAMC. He is also a very intense performer, with steely blue eyes and a residual rebelliousness around him; in spite of the characteristic loud volume and reverb, it is quite riveting to watch both he and his equally talented brother running through their comprehensive set list as it gathers in momentum.

The set list included: The Hardest Walk, Reverence, Sidewalking, Just Like Honey, Some Candy Talking, Blues From a Gun, Happy When It Rains, Head On, Cracking Up and an encore demanded by the crowd.

The music is a unique blend of the time it was created in, when it became almost its own genre: strong guitar and drum rhythms against a background of pop, rock and blues. It does not sound outdated however. The lyrics and music in Cracking Up is just as relevant and modern as it was in the 1980s. It begs to be played live.

My VIP moment was the manager’s grace and accessibility to me when I decided not to visit my cold on the touring stars. These are rare birds from across the pond and I hope this mini-tour will encourage them to come back here to the fans that have missed them so much, like me.

Click here for Carox’s JAMC photoset from House of Blues, Houston

This entry was posted by and is filed under BFMN Exclusive, Review, Carox. Tags: carox, east kilbride, house of blues, jesus and the mary chain, light fm, smashing pumpkins

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