“But you break me in two
And you throw me away
And you spit on my head
You trip me up.”
After spending more money on gig tickets, travel and accommodation – it is with a slight bout of deafness and sheer joy that I can say, I have finally seen The Jesus And Mary Chain live. Twice. In the space of a few days. Not sure how I am not totally deaf, but it’s fine. It is an excuse to not listen to anyone (not like I do anyway.)
I don’t want to turn this into a comparison of Manchester vs London. I’m siding with London because I was at the front, I can’t hear and the venue was a lot nicer. The Troxy is one of the most stunning venues I’ve ever been to. I’m usually a fan of venues that look like they’re about to fall down and are the size of a shed, but I like to make an exception. Instead, I’ll just go on about how TJAMC are one of the best bands I have seen live, finally.
I knew it was going to be loud. I knew it was going to feel like my ears were going to burst and bleed. I wouldn’t have bought tickets if I wasn’t alright with that. The crowds at both nights (and I’d imagine for most dates/all) consisted mainly of middle-aged men having the time of their lives. Some crying onto their best friend’s shoulders, most shouting the words back at Jim as if he’s some modern-day Messiah (he probably is, let’s be honest.) For me, it felt like a Morrissey show but with a bit more bite. How these guys react to TJAMC is how grown men are at a Morrissey show, without the stage invasion. There is something beautiful about seeing this. TJAMC appeal to those who are awkward, unsure but carry the weight of daily feelings like no other. They are for those who do not mind the darker side of having emotions, what they do mind is being told how to offload it all. How do you offload it? You stick on TJAMC and you think of someone or something that is really eating you. This is how you come alive.
I wasn’t even a mere thought before Psychocandy came out (I was born a year and one week later, always late.) but it has become one record that I quite simply, cannot live without. Is it a bold statement? Is it foolish? There a few thousand from over the past week or so who will probably agree with me. United. It’s a record that means more to me than anything else I’ve ever heard. I’ve felt every ugly and passionate feeling Jim sings on that record, and fuck me I am not ashamed. I’m sort of proud that I am able to relate to such a remarkable record. See, I just can’t live without it. To see it live in its entirety was something no part of me ever thought I would see. I never ever thought I would see TJAMC live, ever. I have a tendency to like bands that have most members dead or they hate each other. Sometimes both. Thank you Jim and William for getting your shit together.
I expected nothing from the shows, all I cared about was seeing TJAMC. The excitement I had was probably borderline irritating, I don’t care. If you get the chance to see your favourite band in the whole wide world live, go. Just go. I don’t care how you fund it, just go. Treat yourself. You need to.
There was an atmosphere at both shows that I sincerely hope was at all of them. It was a mixture of relief, absolute happiness and shock that it was about to happen. I know this isn’t a live review, all it is is something unleashing how it feels to see their favourite band of all time live. Finally. There was nothing wrong with these shows, every element of it was perfect. Last night, William played a bum note during a song and Jim just turned to him as if to say, “typical” shook his head and grinned. William was like the mad scientist surrounded with amps and pedals. Jim was every bit the brilliant frontman I knew he was. There was no need for painful conversation between songs. I’m not a fan of that. And I don’t think they are either.
Seeing You Trip Me Up and My Little Underground live meant more to me than I thought they would. Those songs hold more sentimental value to me than a song probably should. More than I want them to, but seeing it all live was like a release. A sigh of relief, yet I didn’t want it to end. TJAMC have been missed, so dearly missed. I hope they never leave us again because we needed it. Live music needs bands like them. Being brutally loud and not apologising for making you feel as if your ears are bleeding. If I don’t get injured or go a little deaf at a gig, I probably didn’t have a good time.
TJAMC’s music is the polar opposite to me, sound wise. They are brutal, somewhat sinister and loud. I’m too shy for my own good, but I’m alright with clinging onto that. Psychocandy is a release of all sorts, and to finally see it live goes beyond the words I have written.
They opened with April Skies. A song I thought would be too much for me to witness, but my god it was beautiful. To just watch that over and over would be something else. Maybe they’ll do a tour for Darklands…that’d be nice. There is no doubt in my mind that TJAMC are the best band, ever. How Jim Reid feels about the Velvet Underground is how I feel about them. Ultimately I do feel the same about the Velvet Underground, obviously. I think that’s quite clear. One of the true special moments last night was Miki Berenyi joining them on Just Like Honey. Oh, and Kevin Shields was sat upstairs too. Shoegaze heaven.
The shows I went to were euphoric and loud. Seeing middle-aged men take their partners with them as if to say, “This has been me for the past 30 years, this is who I am” was just beautiful. The songs are as important as they always were, much like the band.
VIVA THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN!