The Jesus and Mary Chain at Vicar St, Dublin


The Jesus and Mary Chain seem a little quaint in this day and age, with their basic riffs and sullen attitude, but for those of us of a certain age, they are up there with The Cure, Smiths etc as indie pop heroes. This low key reunion show brought many an old fan out of hiding, swelling the attendance to capacity. Black Tambourines were as appropriate a support band as you could possibly imagine, basically a load of shouty noise. Which is a good thing. There was nothing particularly innovative going on but their blend of Velvet Underground crossed with a dirty Stones raunch on tracks like Cross-Eyed and Freedom went down pretty well, the band improving as the set went on. They badly want to be the Jesus and Mary Chain, only the Reid brothers got there first.

Far from the noise fests of old, the Jesus and Mary Chain’s set focused more on their West Coast style chuggers, opening with Snakedriver and Head On. Far Gone And Out was an early highlight but the band, augmented by drummer, bassist and rhythm guitarist were far from slick, indeed clumsy at times with some slurred vocals marring Teenage Lust and Some Candy Talking. They blew hot and cold, or maybe hot and tepid but a gloomy version of Nine Million Rainy Days worked well and the Stooged-up Reverence was the first time of the evening the band really caught fire.

For the encore they were joined on vocals by “a friend of ours, Bernadette (?)” for Just Like Honey, while they powered through In A Hole to a wonderful climax. The Hardest Walk proved to be The Hardest Track, as the band required numerous attempts to get it going, for a second it appeared Jim and William Reid were going to come to blows. They finished with a flourish on Never Understand, possibly the highlight of the evening. Although the band were ropey and under-rehearsed at times, they still hold a certain charm, allowing for the fact that the night was for the most part an exercise in nostalgia.

Killian Laher

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