Concert Review: The Jesus and Mary Chain at Emo’s, Austin: Scottish noise-pop icons flattened eardrums in fine style.
Full admission: I don’t wear earplugs to concerts. I know, I know–I’ll pay for it when I’m older (yes I know I’m already old…shut up), but it takes me out of the moment when I wanna rock out.
I knew better than to make this mistake when seeing The Jesus and Mary Chainat Emo’s last night however. They tend to play so damn loud that all the good stuff still bleeds right through (and so loud that my ears are still ringing earplugs be damned). And they did not disappoint in the blistering feedback department at Emo’s.
And oh my god were they good. The group tore through a set that covered all the bases: the hits, the deep cuts, rarities…they played a whopping 22 songs in 2 hours.
The group clanged away through crowdpleasers like a revving Head On, the shimmering low-key classic April Skies and the ass-shaking Far Gone and Out. While Reid kept his stage moves to a minimum, the blissful racket the group conjured caused mass dancing in the crowd.
More pleasures were to come– Snakedriver, (off The Crow soundtrack), was lusty fun. And speaking of lusty fun, Teenage Lust, off the group’s 1992 album Honey’s Dead, was simmering, slow burn perfection. And Between Planets, the Automatic track that should’ve been a smash single typified their Beach Boys on acid esthetic to aplomb (another Automatic tune, Halfway to Crazy, was equally well received).
The group peppered the set with more songs from Damage and Joy, including the schoolyard crush anthem Always Sad, the dark Mood Rider, and beatific All Things Pass, which showed guitarist William Reid at his most animated, hunched over and wailing while his mop-top billowed like a levitating cloud of cotton candy.
It speaks to Damage and Joy’s strengths that the new material nestled seamlessly with vintage cuts, and the crowd’s enthusiasm never wavered.
The singer offered a rare moment of chitchat with the crowd–teasing the addition of the rarely performed Darklands. Their stirring rendition wowed the crowd, followed by an absolutely mind-melting version of Reverence that made lyrics like I wanna die just like Jesus Christ transcend blasphemy and became positively transcendent. Sneaking in the riff from The Stooges Now I Wanna Be Your Dog was the icing on the fuzztone cake.
The band returned for an encore kicking off with the classic Just Like Honey, followed by the relentless Cracking Up (off 1998’s under-appreciated Munki ). The one two punch of Sidewalking and I Hate Rock’n’Roll blew things into the stratosphere before closing out the night.
While a few notable JAMC classics were MIA (Blues From A Gun, Happy When It Rains, Almost Gold, Sometimes Always), the crowd got more than its money’s worth. To ask for more would just feel greedy.
JAMC Emo’s Setlist:
Black and Blues
Far Gone and Out
Cherry Came Too
All Things Pass
Some Candy Talking
Halfway to Crazy
Just Like Honey
In a Hole
War on Peace
I Hate Rock ‘n’ Roll