I’m fortunate enough tonight to be back at the exquisite Albert Hall in Manchester, a beautiful venue lacking almost all commercial trappings that become all too customary these days. I’m catching the Jesus and Mary Chain performing the classic album Darklands in full.
Inevitably delayed like most tours and outings, finally it has arrived in the calendar. Making their way on the stage, the distance between the brothers is almost comical and feeds into the legend of indifference and distrust between the Reid siblings.
The band is to put it simply, effortless yet commanding, casual but also captivating. They have complete control and excellent delivery in regards to the late 80s Goth/Indie tinged Darklands sound, and with almost no visual change over of guitars perform the more Alternative Rock 90s material without missing a beat.
Launching into opening track and title track ‘Darklands’, it’s a euphoric moment for everyone here who has been waiting for these dates to be rescheduled and perhaps haven’t been to a live show for a long period of time. The euphoria doesn’t stop there, the crowd is at fever pitch throughout the first half of the record, reminding you how strong the album tracks are right up to classic single ‘happy when it rains’ and the equally tempestuous ‘nine million rainy days’.
The storm hasn’t quite passed yet, as the band treat us to the epic and incendiary ‘April skies’ and onwards completing the album retrospective. After the little obligatory break we are treated to a ‘best of the rest’ set, touching primarily on mid and late 90s material but with some Darklands era B-sides thrown in to boot. There is a real lack of singles in the set but for the hardcore audience, this must be the obsessive completist’s wet dream. Stand out tracks have to be ‘Moe Tucker’ from Munki and fan favourite B-side ‘kill surf city’. The night is finished off with ‘never understand’ delivered in full with the feedback it deserves, sadly the only taste of Psychocandy we get tonight.
Overall it was well worth traipsing out on a cold, wet Wednesday evening. Being the first time I’ve seen the Mary Chain I’m a little disappointed I didn’t get certain tracks from my personal wishlist but certainly not put off. The only way to remedy this is to see them again at the earliest opportunity.
Author: Dan Kasm