Given the odds of ever being able to see The Jesus and Mary Chain live again, a definite sense of trepidation surrounded me before Tuesday night’s show at Houston’s House Of Blues. The stories of the Scottish band’s explosive, short, and often half-assed concerts are something of legend these days, and while I wasn’t expecting the Reid brothers to actually fight each other on stage, a part of me wasn’t all that surprised at the kinks the band was seemingly working out during the Houston show.
You can read another review on Rocks Off, but The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Houston show was, in my opinion, on par with a typical JMC concert experience. Fuzzy guitars played at ear-shredding volume? Check. Stopping a couple of songs because someone’s out of sorts? Check. Starting late? Check. William grumpy about something, forcing Jim to abandon the end of the show? Check.
However, despite the missteps during the House of Blues show–which I assume could bother the less-patient, especially given the steep ticket prices–The Jesus and Mary Chain played a blistering set of songs that was a good mixture of their catalog and showcased why they are a continued influence on today’s bands (any Black Rebel Motorcycle Club fans out there?). Sure, I could spend time fretting about what songs the band’s set didn’t include (“Darklands” and “April Skies,” for instance), but it was the songs I didn’t expect to hear–and had almost forgotten about–that made the show for me (“The Hardest Walk,” “Sidewalking”).
Granted, this comes from a long-time fan (my first introduction was picking up Darklands at a Ft. Worth Sound Warehouse in 1987), and with my earplugs I had no issues with the volume and thought the show sounded good overall. The Jesus and Mary Chain playing shows in 2012, apparently promoting its reissued and expanded albums, is simply what it is: a cash grab and a good way for long-time fans to get a bit of nostalgia in and for those who missed the band the first time around to see a bit of what they missed. The fact that I saw fathers with their small children, one of who told me it was their pre-teen daughter that asked to go to the show, drives home the band’s time-tested appeal.