Thursday, June 1, 2017

The Jesus and Mary Chain - Live in Brooklyn, May 2017; The Pink Diamond Revue; Phil Marcade + Punk Avenue

Supporting their recently released new album “Damage and Joy,” The Jesus and Mary Chain tour touched down in Brooklyn, New York on Sunday, May 14, 2017. As this also happened to be the second Sunday of the month, it was also Mother’s Day.

While the Reid brothers and their scheduling team may (or may not) have been aware of this significant date (Mother’s Day in the UK falls on an entirely different day) there was plenty of time for family celebrations earlier in the day before heading out to the show.

With their first album in 18 years getting plenty of positive reviews (including a thorough track-by-track historically accurate analysis here) the real test would be how these new tracks fit in live up against their entire more celebrated catalog.

It is with great joy and satisfaction to report that new songs like show opener "Amputation" fit in seamlessly with the more well-known and much beloved tracks like "April Skies" (from second album Darklands), "Head On," "Between Planets," "Blues From a Gun" (all from the made-for-American-consumption 4th album Automatic) and "Far Gone and Out" from their 1992 release (and 5th album) Honey's Dead.

Jim Reid now appears to be in the fittest condition than any of the previous tours since their revival in 2007.  Looking lean and healthy, his command of the stage is self-assured as he leads the band through an impressive 23 song set.

The first guest vocalist of the evening was Bernadette Denning who reprises her duet with Jim on new song "Always Sad."   Her sweet demeanor and warmth immediately endeared her to the audience, as her voice blended quite well with Jim.  That she is touring nightly with the band (being William's girlfriend) means every stop on the tour is treated to this performance.

William is a dominant sonic force from the very start, and one of his top D+J contributions "Mood Rider" is delivered live as a driving full band chugger.   Infused with an unmistakably Reid guitar hook melody, Jim embraces his brothers lyrics, delivering them now like they are his own.  A slithering chorus sets up that classic William semi-hollowbody electric distorting in on itself.


As the current tour started a few months prior, working it's way across Europe, the band executed  a seamless blend of classic songs like "Teenage Lust" from Honey's Dead with newer material.


Psychocandy songs like "The Hardest Walk" seem the most effortless now, having played that album in full across the globe only a little over a year ago.


Current D+J album cut “All Things Pass” (originally called “All Things Must Pass” when initially recorded in 2008 for a television series soundtrack album) now leans heavily on William’s guitar, both with the intro feedback and rich deep-toned licks.  The chorus is big and sing-along ready with amped-up vocals on “Hey! Look out here it comes. All things must pass -but not too fast.”


Another popular holdover from the previous tour is the deep and moody classic "Nine Million Rainy Days" from Darklands.


Classic stand-alone track "Some Candy Talking" has been a mainstay in the setlist since they first reunited in 2007.  Their version of it on this evening produced the same glorious chills it has always done from the first time hearing it.  Captured here is this night's performance:


Including "Halfway To Crazy" from Automatic in the set had the crowd pumped and singing along, as many US fans credit that album for initially bringing the band to their attention.


Where on the previous "Psychocandy" tour the band positioned noisy track "It's So Hard" as the extended jam rave-up, they now use "Reverence" as that full out sonic assault.  It's the perfect song for it, and William really cuts loose with extended forays of explosive guitar mayhem in the nearly 9 minute performance.

Every bit as good as that sounds, here is the full recording from this show:

After going off stage for a few minutes (since "Reverence" was announced as their [wink, wink] "last song") the band returned with an added member.

Much has already been written about youthful popstar Sky Ferreira's involvement with the band, and one could argue the Brooklyn audience got a "bonus" with her appearance here.  The first one done together was the song she provided guest vocals on the new album - "Black And Blues."   It's another great song from Jim and just about any competent female vocalist could do it justice.   Next up was one of the two that former Belle and Sebastian vocalist Isobel Campbell sang on the album, "The Two Of Us."  The third and final song of the "Sky arc" was the traditional female guest vocalist spot on "Just Like Honey."

Following that, the band rolled through two classic Psychocandy songs, "You Trip Me Up" and "The Living End."  Higher energy restored, the crowd churned up and proudly sang along with the lyrics "I feel so quick in my leather boots - My mood is black when my jacket's on - And I'm in love with myself - There's nothing else but me - And an empty road - And a cool cool wind and it makes feel so good!"

Closing out that first encore with an inspired version of D+J's second track "War On Peace" had them delivering live the promise that track presented on the new album.  With it's slow build-up and pensive lyrics from Jim - "I was sharp, but now I'm old - give my secrets up like gold.  There's a fire beneath my feet - light's the longest losing streak."  His internal journey to find peace of mind (revealing the "peace" and "war" in the title isn't a literal military combat reference after all) leads to the resigned chorus hook "so why would I run?  where would I run to?"   Ultimately it all shifts into a higher gear with the explosive chugging full throttle rock out coda.

One more trundle off stage before coming back to deliver Psychocandy's "Taste Of Cindy" and final song of the night "I Hate Rock 'n' Roll" (from their third  compilation of B-sides and rare tracks Hate Rock 'n' Roll).   A spectacular concert from start to finish!

Getting the opportunity to chat with Jim Reid is a privilege that is never taken for granted.  When he personally thanks you for coming to the show, you know he means it.  He seems in a really great place now - mentally - emotionally - and it really shows.  Wingman Andrew there looks like he's ready to join the  band!

Big time lighting - big time show

Sweet comments

The Bookhouse Boys?

Fine dining, Brooklyn style!

Read the Full Track-By-Track Review of The Jesus And Mary Chain's latest album "Damage And Joy" here.

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Recommendations from friends about what you should listen to can be a hit or miss affair. Wading through those offerings is time consuming, but every once in a while something grabs your attention and you immediately take to it. Reading/London, UK collective The Pink Diamond Revue entered the fray this way, and their subsequent 12” vinyl release arriving in the mail sealed the deal.

Featured A-side track “Miss Lonely Hearts” makes full use of a deep tom-tom jungle drum beat while a vocal sample stating “were not a rock and roll band” declares something of a mission statement. A twangy noir detective theme guitar line emerges carrying the spirit of 50’s guitar legend Link Wray’s ultra-cool style within that rhythm.

In lieu of an active vocalist, select spoken word samples are used like “nobody seems to pull their blinds during a hot spell like this.” However, contrasting that retro feel, bubbling synths appear creating a hybrid sound that ultimately negates classification into any one single time period or era of music. Vocal samples continue to pop up in the mix at various points with statements like “too much perhaps” and the track title “Miss Lonely Hearts – so lonely that even death seems like a friend.”

The associated video draws from a uniquely retro archive of film clips that show imagery like New York City’s Roseland Ballroom in the 1940’s, women dancing at sock hops, brooding cowboys and sharp dressed gangsters.

Tim Lane plays the guitars and appears to be the driving force behind this vision. In addition to collaborator Rob Stock on drums, a main component of their live show and videos is third member Acid Dol who they describe as “a model from another dimension.” This female mannequin torso provides a visual element that makes up much of their acid-psych imagery.

There are a number of equally weird and wonderful tracks to be heard on the band’s YouTube channel here, with the promise of more coming soon.

Follow all the links to find out more:

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Saturday, May 27th was the final night of Max's Kansas City Festival, commemorating (among other things) the 1976 LP that legendary New York venue released.

Of particular interest was the appearance of Philippe Marcade, who has been on a month long book tour promoting his inside look at the NYC underground scene, Punk Avenue.

While that book is highly recommended (and more on it later) this night served as a reminder of how good bands like The Senders, Rousers and so many others were when they started out in the 1970's - progressing through the 80's 90's and even the aughts - up to and including this very evening.

For this segment of the show, New York City bar band rockers The Rousers served as the core unit where a number of guest stars rotated in and out, reuniting various original members.

Playing a full set of their own songs, The Rousers showed why they can kick out the jams with the best of 'em!

Phil Marcade adding his high energy gravel voice and hyper speed blues to the mix created a heightened level of excitement as the show progressed.

A Senders reunion was underway as guitarist Barry Ryan and Sax/Harmonica player Danny Ray stepped in to deliver original rock and roll goodness.

The Senders were one of the biggest and baddest blusey rock bands all through the 70's, 80's and 90's. Here in 2017 that energy returned with a palpable heat during these New York shows.

Danny and Phil

Ever the showman, Phil appears to be shooting a web like Spiderman!

 The Senders reunion was full on as original founding member and bassist Steve Shevlin returned to lay down that R and B groove.

Scorching licks from Barry and Tom.

Bill hails the legend that is Steve Shevlin!

The Senders and Rousers combined delivering that rhythm and blues goodness.

There were more reunions as well as original members of The Rousers sat in went deep into the bands early catalog.

The motivation for this particular show was the recent publication of Phil Marcade's brilliant memoirs Punk Avenue.  A must read book if you love the inside scoop on New York City's authentic rock scene from 1972-82.  Written from the perspective of Phil's own life story, the history of Max's Kansas City and the gritty NY punk scene gets documented with often hilarious detail.  That cover photo of Steve Shevlin, Johnny Thunders and Phil was shot for a Village Voice article in 1979.

Notice the similar style painted jackets the band above (Justin Trouble) wore, to the one Johnny is wearing in that photo.  Occurring in the same time period, a brief history of Justin Trouble is covered right here on this site.

What The Rousers played at this show.

Earlier in the evening, long-time Phil Marcade fans (fresh from reading his book) took a snapshot with the author.

The venue is right on the corner of Joey Ramone Place.  As Phil says in his book - who would have imagined there would be an official city street in NY named after him!

Meeting up with other long-known friends and fellow bandmate from days gone by.

The book is signed and inscribed - so that now makes everything official!

There's no scene like the one outside a venue, where show-goers hang out, catch-up, talk and hatch plans.

Discussing finer points and possible next moves.

It's always just talk - until you actually make something happen.

Phil Marcade not only lived the story of Punk Avenue, he put out a great book about it as well.

Get a copy of it here:

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Mirror said...

Scott Orr wrote:

Great piece, Croms.

The "sky arc," that's gold.

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David Schachter wrote:

Yup...nice job Dave! Well done.

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Chris Bradey wrote:

The live version of Reverence!

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Vadim Baranov wrote:

I wanna just like JFK
I wanna die on a sunny day
I wanna die just like JFK
I wanna die in the USA

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Carlos Do Vale Rodrigues wrote:

Thanks Dave Cromwell

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Jenna Emens-Escalera wrote:


DaveCromwell said...

That had to be pretty close to the most perfect JAMC show I can ever recall (regardless of where you fall re: the “sky arc”).

Jim didn't even have to do his famous shout "STOP!" - not even once.

The version they are now doing of “Reverence” IS incredible.

In all its excessive glory!

Mirror said...

Phil Marcade wrote:

Great photos and commentary by DaveCromwellWrites from the last night of Max's Kansas City reunion show at Bowery Electric Great to check out Dave's terrific music blog here!

Scroll down for the show coverage but read everything along the way! #punkrock #nyc

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P.f. Flyer wrote:

Great piece Dave!

Thanks for the A+ review and documentary pix of the Max's nite. Terrific to see both of you there.

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Tom Milmore wrote:

nice write up !!!

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Kat Georges at threeroomspress wrote:

Fantastic write up of the Max’s Rousers/Senders show and thanks so much for the plug (and link!) for Punk Avenue.

We love this book, and really want as many people to find out about it as possible and make it a part of their lives. Phil’s such a great guy. He deserves recognition for all he’s done—especially being a really good writer!! Not to mention showman!

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A Shawn Guerra wrote:

very nice!

DaveCromwell said...

Without a doubt, Phil Marcade's "Punk Avenue" has been the most entertaining book I've read all year! I can't recommend it highly enough.

What's also very cool is how all the various Senders and Rousers continue to play at such a high level. I suppose it's a bit like those legendary jazz guys you would be aware of when you were younger - those that survived seemed to get better with age. There’s something to be said for accumulated knowledge making up for any "youthful enthusiasm" that may have been tempered over the years. Nevertheless, there was plenty of energy in all the performances at that show.

Was also great catching up with people initially met over 35 years ago (!) New contacts continue to be made every time you go out as well.

Mirror said...

Tim Lane wrote:

Nice review Dave Thanks for that 😁😁😁😁

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The Pink Diamond Revue wrote:

Great review from NOO York Courtesy of Dave Cromwell

Tim Lane wrote:

Nice review of 12'' SINGLE from NEW YORK CITY courtesy of Dave Cromwell

Marvelous 😊😊

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Denny Paul Mills wrote:

beautiful thanx Dave ♥

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Stacy Picard wrote:

Nicely done.

DaveCromwell said...

Good to know the Reading/London, UK representatives in this “EP” (extended piece –TM) are pleased with their representation here.

From a sheer geographical perspective, one might initially think they have more in common with Scotland’s finest, who open this feature. But actually, that Link Wray guitar sound and attitude sits a lot closer to what The Senders infused into all of their shows. In fact, the guitar legend himself started playing shows at Max’s, as well as forming bands with musicians active there in the 1970’s.

The continuing fascination with new artists like this is how they reinterpret those classic styles into something creative and fresh. The Pink Diamond Revue are doing just that.

Misty said...

being able to attend both of the live shows covered here made for an exciting month of May! it was a full circle experience as both The Jesus and Mary Chain AND Philippe Marcade figured quite prominently in my musical development all through the early 1990's.

there is no question that the Jesus and Mary Chain are at the source of pretty much everything that happened with my life since discovering them at that time. and 'Automatic' is one of my all time favorite albums ever!

as great as they were (and still are) they were mostly experienced through their records as you had to wait from them to come around on tour, which at best were once or twice a year.

but going to see Phil and Senders in the early 90's was something you could do a lot (and we did). a local band that played The Continental (then called The Continental Divide) near St. Marx place, those were some of the most fun nights out we had!

so double cool we were able to do BOTH of these things again in the same month.

DaveCromwell said...

When the JAMC came around with their Psychocandy tour in September 2015, *those* shows felt a bit like nostalgia. But the show last month in support of their first proper new album in nearly 2 decades has the feel of a new beginning. Not that they didn’t play tons of classics (and 4 I believe from your beloved Automatic), but with new material now making its way into the sets, there’s a freshness in the shows now that gives everything an added level of excitement.

Philippe Marcade’s recent Senders-centric shows were all about reunion and revival. It didn’t make them any less fun, though. And a great book to go along with it!