Concert Review: My Bloody Valentine, Sept 25, Kool Haus

Toronto – Thursday’s My Bloody Valentine concert broke down into two things – those who wore ear plugs, and those who decided they were too cool or too rock n roll to wear ear plugs at a concert. Fortunately for me, I was part of the former. For those not in the know, My Bloody Valentine is a highly regarded shoe gaze band from the late 80s. Highly regarded enough to charge fifty bucks a ticket and still pack the Kool Haus. They specialize in using distortion, reverb and other guitar effects to create what is essentially, a wall of sound. Anyways, they broke up a long time ago and this was one of those popular reunion tours. According to some people, they are the loudest band in the world.

Having known this, I made sure I had earplugs before entering the Kool Haus, the loudness of the impending show was further cemented by the fact that they were handing out free earplugs at the doors and the guy was like ‘you will need these’. Yay. A quick glance at the stage setup was enough to see that this is true – over ten amps standing side by side. Yup. Wall of Sound tonight. Now I won’t pretend to be the biggest MBV fan in the world, so I am just basing this review on what I know. The band came on shortly after 10 pm, to a solid occasion. Kevin Shields stood about 30 feet away from Bilinda Butcher at the front of the stage, and Debbie Gouge stood in the back near the drummer. That’s a lot of space. They immediately launched into some song off Loveless, accompanied by a blistering light show and some very c86-esque video footage being projected to the back wall.

The next 85 minutes saw the band play thru pretty much every song you’d want to hear off Loveless and Isn’t Anything. The concert seemed to get louder and louder. I looked to my left and saw some poor soul go thru the entire show with his hands plugging his ears. Yup. Satisfied fan right there. As my friend Nick pointed out, there seemed to be a huge disconnection between the band, the crowd and everything, really. I don’t think the members of MBV talked to each other once during the stage, and they were pretty much content with standing in one spot, playing guitar, casually singing (10 points to one person who could make out any lyric sang last nite) and yea, just being all motionless. I guess this is Shoegaze. Compared with the over exuberance of the James show two nites ago, yes, it definitely paled in audience participation. However, they are two very different acts. The light show was insane, it was really hard to look at the stage at times, most of the time I just closed my eyes and listened, maybe that was the intention.

I think most people were satisfied with the set up until the last song, when Kevin Shields said “this is our last song”. So they launch into “They Made Me Realize” and about 3 minutes in, they changed from the song to just..noise. This MASSIVE noise. It was like being inside a jet engine. I don’t know what hit me. It was so FN loud. People with ear plugs were covering their ears. People without earplugs were frozen in pain. Babies were crying, little birds were going extinct. I dont think I have ever felt my body shake at a concert because of the noise, but it did. So you take it all in. I’ll admit, the first few minutes of this noise, felt cool but after minute six or seven, it got ridiculous and by minute 12, we left. According to Frank at Chromewaves, the noise went on for 24 freakin minutes. I am sure some people are hearing jingle bells in their ears today.

So how was the show overall? I turn the rating to my friend Nick, who flew here from Edmonton to go see them, and even bought the ugly ass shirt they were selling. He said (I’m paraphrasing) “Even I would have to give it a thumbs down, there seemed to be a huge disconnect between the band and the noise at the end was a bit over the top”


ps. my friend Kelly said they were playing at 128 dB

here is a link of a review on a previous show

Posted on by Ricky in Concerts

About Ricky

Britpop lovin Chinaman, consumer of all things irrelevant. Toronto Raptors fan.

6 Responses to Concert Review: My Bloody Valentine, Sept 25, Kool Haus

  1. josh

    This is nothing new. They ended their concert in 1992 the same way at the Opera House. Back then it was considered innovative.

  2. josh

    Oh…and I gave that show a 5/5

  3. Ricky

    i was in grade six.

  4. Stefan Reindl

    Anyone who would give that show less than 5 doesn’t know anything about good live music.

  5. joey

    I’m betting they came on shortly after 10 p.m. to a solid ovation.

    And thanks for the review/forewarning. Sounds like an interesting show. I’ll be seeing them tonight [in Chicago], earplugs at the ready.

  6. Nick


Add a Comment