From the moment the tickets went on sale back in March there had been a gentle hum of anticipation in accordance to the two shows that The Brian Jonestown Massacre were booked to play at Concorde 2 (originally one show was booked but the tickets sold so fast that the good people at LOUT put on another, legends). Together since 1990, the band now at the pinnacle of pseudo-cult underground fame has amassed a fanbase from all sorts of generations. Dedicated fans at that. There wasn’t a gig goer there that I spoke to who couldn’t quote a line from Dig!, the infamous documentary made about the band from 1996 to 2004; a film that elevated the status of leading member, Anton Newcombe from garage psych bum to troubled musical genius. That kind of dedication in fans is what generates the hum, thus I stood in the front rows of Concorde 2 among hundreds of other fans thinking; is this going to be ‘the gig’? Have we crossed the rubicon? After all, this very magazine is named after The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s 6th album; Give It Back!
The band slowly took to the stage at about 9 o’clock holding the guitars that dedicated fans can remember from the album photos and the magazines. Stood proud at the very left of the stage was Anton, adorned in all sorts of exotic necklaces. He spoke softly into the microphone; “We are The Brian Jonestown Massacre and this is our music.” And amongst the rapturous applause and hysterical screaming that followed, the seven-piece dove into ‘Never/Ever’, the first song of their two hour long set. They treated the crowd that night to what must have been nearly thirty songs of garage-y, lo-fi, psychedelic wonder. Perfectly harmonised vocals and guitar tones supplemented by subdued and reverent keyboards tied together with probably the tightest rhythm section going, this gig was perfection, all the right songs in all the right places, even the new tracks were introduced with adequate justification and celebrated by a happily biased crowd. The highlight of the show was the slow-paced and solemn tune ‘The Devil May Care (Mom & Dad Don’t)’, the crowd rocked gently, sung along and some were moved to tears.
The joyous hysteria of the show was quaintly prefaced, for me by the fact that I had met Anton in a guitar shop a few hours previous. After I told him that I was going to his show that night he said; “It gets real hot, you’re gonna want to wear a speedo.” He wasn’t lying.
Words by Harvey Dent