SXSW Review: Jesus and Mary Chain, March 15, Belmont

Let’s not kid ourselves, you are here because you are interested how the reunited Jesus and Mary Chain were at SXSW. This legendary band needs no introduction, but of you do want some, here is a site that’ll help explain why many sxsw goers were willing to sacrifice their entire Thursday night at SXSW to see this group. For me, the Jesus and Mary Chain show was the centerpiece upon which I built my SXSW schedule around.

so let’s answer some questions:

What Did They Play?

My biggest fear with their SXSW set was that it would be one of those short 40 minute sets. However, as the night grew on, it became obvious that this would not be just any sxsw show. Check out this set list:

18 Tracks! That’s over 90 minutes of music. A full show! How amazing is that.

How’d they sound?

Luckily for Jim Reid, the Jesus and Mary Chain vocals aren’t the type that stresses on the vocal chords or require a high amount of range. Most of it is drowned in guitar sound anyway. While the group is definitely a bit older, they still sound rather great save for some rustiness on the guitar (there were some out of tune tracks). Reid still delivers his lines with that cool distant detachment that makes you wonder if he’ll walk off the stage at any moment.

Is there still tension?

Hell yes. A band notorious for blow ups on stage, it was definitely on the back of people’s minds as they watched this reunion tour. The tension between the Reid brothers seem to be still there (Jim telling his brother “You need to tune up” with a menacing tone, for example) although it seems like William Reid has mellowed out a bit in his old age. Maybe it’s just the way he is, but every time you see Jim glare at one of his band members over a missed timing or something he wasn’t expecting, you kind of expected him to throw something at them. At one point, Jim wanted to talk to the audience but the guitar feedback was still making sounds to which Jim screamed at his band mates to “fucking turn that thing off!”.

In short, don’t expect this to be a long reunion.

What was that dude doing taking off all his clothes on stage?
wtf were u thinking?

Quote of the night?
“Normally this is the part of the night when we go off and you clap and we go back on, but we can’t fucking be bothered, so here’s the encore” – Jim Reid (paraphrased)

How amazing was April Skies, Some Candy Talking and Just Like Honey?

Simply put, it’s a music fan’s bucket list. All checked off. Woo.

In conclusion, rarely do you get a chance to see reunited bands that you love play (unless it’s the Pixies) so when you get that chance, jump on it.

This was the centerpiece of my SXSW experience and despite my hesitation about sitting five hours at one place – the songs, the attitude, the constant threat of walkouts and the noisy guitar feedback was all worth it.

Posted on by Ricky in South By Southwest

About Ricky

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

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