No kinks in the Jesus and Mary Chain
The Scottish group shows a more mature side in Anaheim but plays old favorites
with renewed vitality.
By Chuck Mindenhall, Special to The Times
Perhaps the Jesus and Mary Chain was the first band to truly capture the art
of sounding like bad radio reception, but the white noise from which singer
Jim Reid's power-yearn emits is still very much tuned in. This is evident in
the first single that the Scottish group has released in nearly a decade, "All
Things Must Pass," which thundered Monday at the Anaheim House of Blues
audience like a lost track from "Psychocandy." And yet there was something in
the aloof cool of Reid -- who looks nowadays like a less-enthusiastic Thom
Yorke, mustering but one brief smile in the course of the night -- that
suggested the track's title might be something quite literal.
Although the Jesus and Mary Chain was never as popular in the U.S. as in
Europe, the band's presence at Coachella last spring after a nine-year hiatus
rekindled a lot of enthusiasm as to what it might dream up next.
The paradox was always that the Jesus and Mary Chain purposely sounded more
live on its earlier albums, such as 1984's "Upside Down" and "Psychocandy,"
than it did live. That is still true, though the stage show is predictably
different and distinctly matured.
Reid's hair is no longer the black Gothic geyser it once was, and this version
of the Mary Chain is not likely to incite any riots. But there was renewed
vitality in the old favorites such as "Some Candy Talking" and "You Trip Me
Up" and a rejuvenated feel to "Sidewalking" and the feedback-saturated "Never
Though Reid was terse, leaving the interstices between songs to mike shirks
and modulation drone instead of chitchat, he's a master at building audience
anticipation -- so that when the first chord is struck, as in "Blues From a
Gun," it's epic.
Toward the end of the night, when the band got around to playing the quasi-hit
"Just Like Honey," followed by the boy-girl classic "Sometimes Always," the
sway of the room was moving. Reid threw his hands up and bashfully said,
"Thank you," and mumbled something indistinguishable, which was about the only
singer-audience interaction all night.
One fan screamed out, "I love you too," taken once again by the bad reception.