Scottish Alternative: The Jesus And Mary Chain

Mary Chain (4)
As I sat on the bare concrete floor of this wonderful new concert hall, I was reminded of spending countless hours during my younger days listening to any alternative music I could get my hands on. I think that I was so attracted to it because you never knew which band might be the next big thing. The Jesus and Mary Chain was one such band but I’m not sure if they ever really hit it that big. Don’t get me wrong, they do have their fans here and on the other side of the pond but theirs is more of a cult following than anything else.

The Black Ryder opened the night’s show with their own personal brand of psychedelic alternative music. The Australian duo of Aimee Nash and Scott Van Ryper, along with some touring support members, brought a nice relaxing vibe to the stage playing nearly ten songs. Almost every song seemed to be building up to something grand but the result was just the end of the song.  They had plenty of cool sounds emanating from the stage and enough sultry vocals to put a guy to sleep. The pace and volume did pick up about halfway through their set & the reverb/feedback qualities reminded one of the headliners early music.

Mary Chain (3)

The current members, including founding members/brothers Jim and William Reid, walked out onto the dimly lit stage amid a haze of smoke and the roar of the crowd. Vocalist Jim Reid began by explain the set list = a small opening group of songs followed by their seminal 1985 album Psychocandy played in its entirety. Of the early set, “April Skies” from theirDarklands album stood out the most. It covered a wide range of emotions and sounds with its sweet guitar picking, very loud rhythms and soaring vocals. There was plenty of dancing, singing and head bobbing throughout the 3/4ths full venue. The constant feedback and distortion definitely kept us moving. The rhythm changes, strong drum beats and Jim Reid’s voice brought back the 80’s sound to a very appreciate crowd.

After a very short break, the band returned and dove right into Psychocandy’s first track “Just Like Honey”. It was so dark onstage that it was not until the last few seconds of the song did I notice there was a female backup singer on the far side of the stage. “The Living End” had more of a rockabilly sound to it and was punctuated with fast moving videos and graphics on the backdrop. William Reid’s fine guitar work especially stood out during “Taste the Floor” and the crowd really got into “The Hardest Walk”. An acoustic feel to the simple song “Cut Dead”, the dark, moody sounds of “In a Hole” and the very upbeat tempo of “A Taste of Cindy” got us to the halfway point of the album. The darkness of the stage was a photographer’s nightmare and just when the darkness had lured you in – quick, extremely bright flashes of the strobe lights would shock you awake. The standout songs of the second half of Psychocandy were “Never Understand”, the very cool bass intro to “Inside Me” and the set ending pair of “Something’s Wrong” and “It’s So Hard”.

What I noted the most was that almost every song ended with a bit of William’s trademark feedback and Jim’s mumbling at times/extremely clear at other times voice. It also seemed to me that half of the crowd was there because they were true fans and half was there just to say they were. The recent fad of concertgoers talking throughout the show is getting to be a bit ridiculous and bothersome but regardless of this fact I had a wonderful time. Not sure what The Jesus and Mary Chain’s future plans are but if you liked them back in the day and they come through town again = go see them.


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Photographs taken at The Bomb Factory on May 7th of 2015 – The Jesus And Mary Chain

Disclaimer: All photographs are copyright Paul Wilkins Photography and cannot be used/cropped/printed without the consent of the owner.
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