The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Concorde 2, Brighton – 11th October 2018
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The Brian Jonestown Massacre - Concorde 2, Brighton - 11th October 2018

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Concorde 2, Brighton – 11th October 2018

The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s aesthetic and Brighton go hand-in-hand quite beautifully. There’s something about the San Francisco musical project led by Anton Newcombe’s brand of psychedelia that strikes a chord with Brighton. As such, every time they roll into town they cause an immense buzz and, this time, they even sold out Concorde twice over. As such, the band’s first show at Concorde 2 was a riotous affair, boasting an incredible performance from the band that was both lengthy and incredibly technical. Make no mistake, The Brian Jonestown Massacre play live as if nobody's watching them. Incredibly insular, but an outrageously technical display, there’s not a single band in the world like The Brian Jonestown Massacre.

Support on the night came from Sinead O'Brien. Boasting London band Hidden Charms’ Oscar Robertson on drums, it was an atmospheric performance that set the tone of the evening instantly. A somewhat jazz-meets-art-rock fusion, O’Brien talk-sings in an ominous yet distinctive way. Evoking similar vibes to early PJ Harvey, it could have fallen into pretension at times but there was enough lyrical nouse to keep that from happening. With a support slot with garage rock band The Parrots to come, O’Brien looks set to become a permanent fixture in the art-rock scene.

With the entirety of The Velvet Underground & Nico being played in the interim, there was an excitement building in the air that doesn’t come around too often in venues such as this. It’s been 23 years since The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s debut album, Methodrone, so it’s surprising to see just how much of an effect they have on younger people. Pretty much packed out by teens and 20-somethings, some of whom weren’t even born when Methodrone was released, it’s clear to see that the band have hit cult legend status. It’s Methodrone cuts that receive some of the biggest reactions of the night, too, with the likes of ‘That Girl Suicide’ and ‘Wisdom’ being drowned out by fierce cheers.

This night acts as a celebration of the band, from 1995 to now, with as much focus put on Methodrone as their latest record, Something Else. ‘Who Dreams of Cats?’, by far the finest cut on Something Else, proves to be a highlight with its clever fusion of American slacker-rock, shoegaze, and Madchester vibes. If anything, the band have seemed to get better with age and their latest record is testament to that. The reaction to Something Else track ‘Animal Wisdom’, too, is incredible for a band on their 22nd record.

When you’ve got tracks as iconic as ‘Pish’ and ‘Anemone’, which are brilliantly dropped in the middle of their set, it’s no wonder they’re able to pack out venues such as this. As brilliant as they are iconic, their dreamy nature swarmed around the wide venue and enticed everybody into submission. There’s an element to the band that feels like genuine witchcraft - the way they put a spell on large numbers of people is mightily impressive and one that you’d be hard pushed to find in many other places. At times, it’s more akin to a religious experience than a musical one.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre have been one of the most prolific bands of the last two decades, so it’s no surprise that they’ve become a genuinely huge band and, on this evidence, no band is more deserving than them. A brilliant set, highlighting each and every record sufficiently, The Brian Jonestown Massacre are one of a kind.

Liam McMillen




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