The Jesus and Mary Chain at China Music Valley Festival
I was totally shocked when I first read that the Jesus and Mary Chain were coming to Beijing to play a show. As a teenager, I was a bit of headcase for these four young leather-clad lads. Headed by Jim and William Reid with their unruly locks, they were quintessential UK Britrock, plus they heralded the use of screaming feedback to accompany the sort of melodic songs that people can write within a week of picking up a guitar.
Not only that, but they shamelessly advocated drug use in their songs, and made numerous explicit metaphors about oral sex. What teenager wouldn't love them?
My walls were plastered with several Mary Chain posters. I would break a sweat to realize that the library had a new copy of Melody Maker which had a cover feature about the new JMC album. I shamefully cut out the article and thumbtacked it to my bedroom wall.
My own songwriting and vocal style are directly indebted to the JMC.
My list of Things To Do In This Lifetime included seeing the Jesus and Mary Chain live. I kinda crossed it off the list as i grew less enamoured with them over the years, but that's no reason not to see them when they come knocking on your doorstep.
They were the Saturday headliners.
William's probably doubled his weight since the days when he and his bro wrote Psychocandy.
Pretty decent-sized crowd stuck out for the whole show, despite a thunder and lightning storm which took place.
Even in their heyday they had a reputation for being shit performers, so I didn't expect much. Plus they're like 20 years older. Pluse Jim and William hated each others guts for years after the break up. Etc, etc...
William shuffled around, hunched over his guitar, never looking up at the crowd (as he's always done). Jim's voice sounded exactly the same as before, and he sang much better than i was expecting. Not only that, but he seemed quite pleasant. He said "xiexie" a number of times. He even cracked a couple jokes, which kinda shocked me. "I'd like to say thanks to everyone for sticking it out through the rain. And fuck off to all of those who didn't." He actually seemed pretty gracious. i guess you shouldn't be an angsty teen up into your 50s. Hell, they even played an encore.
They didn't sound great, but it did sound pretty good. Mostly i was happily drowning in nostalgia, singing along with most every song. Shit, when's the last time I thought about songs like Blues From a Gun, or Sidewalking?
It was pretty darn fun.
Also Glasvegas (who totally rocked the casbah) played Some Candy Talking earlier on. Actually, the Glasvegas version actually sounded better. But you know how it is: it's all about the music. It's not about the... oh, never mind.