Tuesday, September 2, 2008

After the Massacre

So, the Brian Jonestown Massacre played their first-ever NZ gig at the Backstage last night, and it was an amazing night of really, really happy wasted people and some first-class psychedelic droney freakoutery. Absolutely no complaints there.

The whole mythology surrounding the BJM makes for an interesting experience. As someone who has never really listened to or otherwise followed the band (heck, I haven't even seen DIG!) and - despite my best efforts - as someone who was pretty much stone-cold sober for the entire concert, I felt like a detached observer of this intriguing phenomenon. The audience were clearly there expecting an amazing show - which was delivered in spades - but a big proportion of them also expected to see the fireworks the band are known for. There wasn't much of that at all, and as far as I was concerned that was a good thing, but for some the night wasn't really complete without Anton Newcombe throwing some kind of hissy fit. There was some light heckling of one crowd member, and you could tell that that piqued the audience's expectations before not really going anywhere. The band put on an amazing show, playing for a couple of hours before going out on an epic tide of drone and feedback. Then they put on The Thirteenth Floor Elevators over the soundsystem, which topped of the night wonderfully for me, even if I seemed to be the only one still grooving around on the d-floor to "You're Gonna Miss Me."

The most surreal moment of the night, and the real point of this post, was chatting to some guy (I think he may have been a member of my party at some point earlier in the evening, but I'm not entirely sure) about the show. He was raving on about how amazing the show was, but also about what bastards the band were for getting fucked off at the audience, giving up on the gig, and storming off early. This was not what happened at all - as I said, they played a totally-committed, really long show before going out on a perfect wall of sonic overload - but this was clearly the BJM show this guy had been expecting to see, and so that's what he did see. Now he shall forever have the memory of going to one of those BJM gigs, and therefore feels a part of that whole mythology surrounding the band. I tried to point out that they played a really long, really epic set that we should all be very grateful for, but beyond that I didn't push it - he had had the experience he wanted, and who am I to argue? And that's not a phrase you'll hear me use very often...

3 comments:

Elizabiscuit said...

ha. funny! Anton yelled at his band during his set here..

Amy said...

Mitch Awesome was with the band in Chch, and apparently the audience there were really hanging out for aggression. Bad vibes. His verdict was that Dunedin was the superior of the two gigs. Yelling at bandmates aside, how was the welly gig?

Elizabiscuit said...

ooo yeah, those CHCH peeps are nasty..

For someone who likes the band (but isn't by any means obsessed) I thought the gig was pretty great. Really nice to listen to. Yup