the jesus and mary chain
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ICA : 29.12.84
Ralph Traitor / Sounds
THE MUSIC of the Jesus And Mary Chain as a subject for intellection and rationale is a total non sequitur. There isn't any. However, as a study in phenomenonology, they are ideal.

Pavlov would have been in ecstasy. As squads of journalists and record company spies edged past each others in grim Scrooge McDuck anticipation and paying customers mentally recited litanies compiled from recent rave reviews, Jesus and co were no doubt backstage, deciding which feedback to begin with.

Upon taking the stage, utterly overshadowed throughout the show by a magnificent neon advertising sign, shedding its capitalist blessing on the umpteenth futile revolution of the little people, Jesus and friends spent the better part of a quarter hour boring everyone with pointless detuning and noises quite predictable when guitar amplifiers are on full volume and nothing is being played. Woodstock Three in a teacup. With mock solemnity the group circumnavigated their actual task deftly, smirking like naughty schoolboys.

The first number was a real blast. Very short and simple. The spectacle of dozens of people gaping with uncertain awe at these wayward kiddies, with their fingers in their ears, had me in hysterics. Joy Division songs they play, yet. And a Subway Sect cover. There's revolution for you!

Meanwhile, I left for about ten minutes. When I returned, having been reliably informed in the foyer by a record business stalwart that the group are a con, the music had really hotted up. Everything was noticeably louder. At the volume Jesus and sons play at, anything is enervating and psychologically disorienting; I felt quite violent and didn't like it at all. Meanwhile the bouncers watched with bored indifference as the faithful leapt about like salmon with St Vitus' Dance.

The singer dropped his guitar on the stage just hard enough so we could all notice it and then fell about. Drunk people often do, one finds. Then they all had a little onstage huddle to kill some time and laughed at their private joke(us) and then made some more noise. I asked myself: how desperate are we for some new justification, some kick? Apparently, very.

Meanwhile, the audience couldn't decide whether be offended, enchanted or just split. lggy says: 'in space age, the village idiot rules.' Yup! The Jesus and whatchmacallit are not the new Pistols. They are the old Pistols. The circle will remain unbroken, I hope to God they get a huge record and tour endlessly and learn Whole Lotta Love'. I believe they are genuine and committed. It's all very beautiful, like a snow egg in a bath of acid. Big deal.

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