Eli Orzessek is Travel's Digital Content Producer.

Review: Jesus and Mary Chain, Powerstation

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The Jesus and Mary Chain pictured at the time of the releae of Psychocandy in 1985.
The Jesus and Mary Chain pictured at the time of the releae of Psychocandy in 1985.

A swarm of dads descended on the Powerstation for the Jesus and Mary Chain concert last night, dozens of them spilling out of nearby "cool dad" pub Galbraiths.

A variety of band t-shirts over beer bellies were out for this auspicious event: the entire 1985 Psychocandy album played live by Scotland's loudest, oldest shoegazers, the Jesus and Mary Chain.

When it comes to complete classic album shows by legendary groups , there's always an uncertainty about whether it's going to be disappointing to see your aged favourites.

But when the Jesus and Mary Chain took to the stage, it was in a haze of fog and complete cool.

Frontman Jim Reid announced they'd be playing a few other songs before the main event, but you could barely understand what he said through his mumbling accent and the noise.

The band opened with April Skies, before bursting into Head On, a favourite moment of crushed-out pop from Automatic.

Loud and swoony, the line "I could die and I wouldn't mind" seemed really appropriate.

The band was mostly obscured by clouds of smoke, with lights that faded from pinks and golds to blues and whites and dramatic flashes of strobes.

Jim Reid loomed in silhouette over the crowd, while sibling guitarist William Reid's curly mop of grey hair bobbed away as he produced waves of feedback from his side of the stage. The mystique was well and truly alive.

Any worries about ageing rock stars immediately faded as they launched into Reverence, Jim screaming "I wanna die just like Jesus Christ," while William blasted out layers of fuzzy daggers of noise that pierced through the audience. The energy in the room just exploded.

Jim Reid was captivating as he leaned on the mic stand as if he was too cool and tortured to hold himself up.

He sang "ba ba bas","aa aa ohs" and "da da das" like a Ronnette, while staggering and skulking around the stage, giving a wry little wave at the end of each song.

When he wasn't singing, everyone just screamed at him.

The band ended the first half of the show with Inside Out, then after a break barely short enough to get a drink, they were back

The isolated Spector-like drums of Just Like Honey set the tone for Psychocandy, followed by shimmering waves of perfect pop.

As the performance went on, it was so hypnotic that the songs seemed to bleed into each other. I alternated between swaying gently with closed eyes to quiet songs like the Hardest Walk and Cut Dead, and dancing furiously to others, like Never Understand and Trip Me Up.

Psychocandy is an album full of mood swings, simultaneously dark and brooding and desperately romantic and blissed out - once described by Jim as "if the Shangri-Las were backed up by a noise band".

Through blurred eyes and feedback it was about as close as you could get to being fully immersed in the world of the album.

Everything culminated in this incredible suspension of disbelief, where no matter what year it was or where we were, this was an authentic Jesus and Mary Chain experience rather than a tired reunion show.

But Jim Reid told the Guardian last year that the past is the past.

"Even when the album was out, it was about riots and falling over drunk on stage," he said. "It was about everything but the music. If you're looking for skinny young kids in a strop, kicking their guitars, stay at home."

Somehow, even if they weren't the anarchic kids of '85 getting drunk and walking off after 15 minutes, they managed to successfully recreate a feeling in time - which is what an album tour ought to do.

The Jesus and Mary Chain proved they're still painfully cool. And that's what matters the most.

- NZ Herald

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