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  THE JESUS AND MARY CHAIN w/ Psychic Paramount  


  The Variety Playhouse  

Little 5 Points, Atlanta, GA

Reviewed by:
  Inspector Jason, PostLibyan and Tracers  
Photographs by:
  Inspector Jason  
Performance Rating:
Sound Quality:
Overall Rating:



So, at long last, the day was here. I was heading out, once again, to see The Jesus and Mary Chain. I have seen them several times in the past, and each show has been different. What would this time bring?

Tracers and i arrived at the Variety Playhouse around 7:30 PM. Inspector Jason was already there, along with his buddy Officer Bill. Mr. Pharmacist had even driven up from Columbus, GA to see the show. In fact, the venue was packed with people EvilSponge knew. Well, it was packed in general. I am not sure if i have ever seen The Variety so crowded.

Inspector Jason:
  I had never seen The Jesus And Mary Chain in concert before, despite having been a fan since the late 1980s during my high school years, and, although I had heard mixed reviews of the reunion sets, I was eager to experience a live show from this band at long last. The standing-room only designations on the side platforms at The Variety Playhouse were proof that I was not the only person excited about the concert.  

There was a generally upbeat party-like atmosphere in the venue. And then the first act started to play.

This was a three-piece instrumental heavy metal act called Psychic Paramount. They were not bad, but i have heard other bands do exactly what they were doing, and do it better. For example, the Detroit band Paik are very similar, and much more interesting. I kept hoping that PP would step up their game a bit, but instead the music just plodded along for 40 long minutes, never really going anywhere and never wowing me. Fortunately there were lots of people to have shouted conversations with.

  Here's the thing about Psychic Paramount. I'm sure that there are cities where their music seemed like something new and interesting. Likewise, looking around me at the Variety Playhouse, I wouldn't be surprised if there were folks who hadn't heard hard rock instrumentals before. However, we live in Atlanta, land of Mastodon, where a starting point of "heavy metal" is a valid music choice for local bands. So to my mind, this wasn’t particularly interesting or unique, since I can think of any number of groups who would sound similar. However, if you hadn't encountered it before, I think Psychic Paramount might be intriguing.  

Oh, yeah: good point. Where was Brent Hinds when we needed him?

At any rate, Psychic Paramount finished, eventually. And then, the Reid brothers took the stage. JAMC played as a 5-piece tonight. William Reid only played guitar, and he looks a little pudgy, which is good because that likely means he is not on any really hard drugs right now. And he still has the tall, teased JAMC hairdo though, something which made me very happy. Jim Reid only sang, and his hair is shorter. He was wearing a sportcoat over his t-shirt and jeans, so he looked almost respectable. The band was rounded out with a drummer, a guitarist playing Jim's parts, and a bassist. The brothers did not fight or even appear to argue. Jim joked about being drunk, and forgetting words, but in general they seemed to be having fun.

  That was weirdest thing. I know in the previous times I've seen The Jesus and Mary Chain, I've never seen a Reid brother look at the crowd, much less interact with them. Add to this quality the sportcoat and clean hair cut and I was thinking at first that Jim had been replaced by the frontman of The Faint (or Michael Stipe circa Out of Time).  
  They started with a grinding version of Snakedriver and then tore right into Head On, the packed Variety crowd bouncing up and down and singing along. The set was a little heavy on material from Automatic, Honey's Dead, and Stoned and Dethroned. However, towards the end of the main set they did play Taste of Honey, some impossibly scrawny blonde girl coming on stage to sing the female part of that tune, and then they immediately tore into Happy When It Rains. Jim kind of mumbled through the tune, but that's okay because Tracers i knew the words and were screaming along.  
Inspector Jason:

Between Planets, from the underrated Automatic album was a great surprise. This album track fit in well with a surprisingly danceable set from The Jesus And Mary Chain. Aside from a rather underwhelming female guest appearance on Just Like Honey, the entire set from The Jesus And Mary Chain moved at lightning speed as the Reid Brothers joked with the crowd before blazing into each song with surprising vigor. This was an amazing night.

  I kind of liked the emphasis on Automatic, since in a live format the songs really tend to shine and prove out our theory that the issue with the album was its very sterility and not the music. It was nice to hear Between Planets as well as Head On (although I swear the guys behind me asked rhetorically why The Jesus and Mary Chain were covering The Pixies). Still the slightly messy version of Happy When It Rains was my favorite, if only because I got to shout myself hoarse and dance like a fool.  

They ended the main set with Reverence, of course, and then came back and played 15 minutes of songs from really early in their career played through a wall of squealing feedback while the packed Variety crowd bounced up and down. The version of Never Understand Me that ended the show was loud, distorted, and in my opinion, the perfect way to end the night.

It was a short set, but fun. The hired guns are talented, and i do really like William's guitar work. I had a great time.


Head On
Far Gone and Out
Between Planets
Blues From a Gun
Teenage Lust
Cracking Up
All Things Must Pass
Some Candy Talking
Just Like Honey
Happy When It Rains

The Hardest Walk
Taste of Cindy
Never Understand

Related Links:
Psychic Parmount:
The Jesus and Mary Chain:
   Fan site:
   Also on EvilSponge:
         Album: Darklands
         Compilation: Barbed Wire Kisses
         Album: Automatic
         Album: Psychocandy

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