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SJP


The Phoenix, Toronto - August 3, 2012
By Jane Stevenson, QMI Agency


TORONTO - Just how loud was the long-awaited return - would you believe it’s been over 15 years? - of ‘80s Scottish alt-rockers The Jesus And Mary Chain to Toronto on Friday night in front of a sold-out crowd at the Phoenix?

Well, even 50-year-old lead singer Jim Reid often had his fingers in his ears as he took the quintet, anchored by the distorted, feedback-laden guitar of his brother, the still wild-haired William, 53, who was wearing shades, through 75 minutes of their Ramones-meets-The Shangri-Las sound, opening the show with Snakedriver and closing with Never Understand.

In between, it wasn’t always tight - they botched two songs, All Things Must Pass, and Sometimes Always - starting, stopping them, and then restarting them - but it was definitely entertaining for the most part.

One wonders what they might actually achieve with some ear monitors for Jim, maybe some more rehearsal time, and how about a new album even?

Could it happen? God only knows.

In the meantime, The Jesus And Mary Chain’s main dynamic continued to be the interplay between the Reid brothers with the other players - bassist Phil King, guitarist Mark Crozer and drummer Loz Colbert - almost incidental although they clearly knew what they were doing.


The band, who broke up in 1999 and reunited in 2007, were known early on in their career for short, often violent shows, where they destroyed their equipment or got into fights with audience members (including that memorable fracas at RPM in Toronto which was before my time).

There was none of that on Friday night although at one point Jim told the audience shouting up song titles to “Have patience!” and briefly threw down his mic stand during another tune but it was hardly dramatic.

Given the response to the song, it seemed many in the crowd were waiting for group’s early hit, Just Like Honey, which came towards the end of the night as Jim invited a female vocalist up to sing alongside him where she remained for the subsequent song, Sometimes Always.

Other standouts proved to be either of the more hooky and uptempo variety like Head On and Cracking Up, more cohesive and meaty numbers like Blues From a Gun and Reverence, or the wall-of-sound guitar propelled tune Some Candy Talking.

When the band wrapped up their main set, Jim threw his hands up to say, “That’s all we’ve got,” and in fact he did say that right after the encore.

The audience left wanting more and maybe, just maybe, they’ll get it at some point.

But only when The Jesus and Mary Chain are good and ready.

SET LIST

Snakedriver

Head On

Far Gone and Out

Between Planets

Blues From a Gun

Teenage Lust

Cracking Up

All Things Must Pass

Some Candy Talking

Happy When It Rains

Halfway To Crazy

Just Like Honey

Sometimes Always

Reverence

ENCORE:

The Hardest Walk

Taste Of Cindy

Never Understand


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