The Brian Jonestown Massacre

Manchester Academy 2 on Fri 30th Jun 2006

The Brian Jonestown Massacre receive little to no airplay on UK radio, and presumably their records sales aren’t red hot either, and it’s a dedicated band of followers that would appear to keep them going, as they have pitched up in Manchester for the second time, after the original date for this sold out gig was postponed because of a power failure.

And it seems the man who is BJM, Anton Newcombe, is determined to keep this band firmly underground. Throughout the gig he is side stage, often with his back to audience and his words are almost completely unintelligible. The only thing to point him out as band leader is his deerstalker hat. There is very little in onstage banter between songs until the night is almost over, that subsequent verbal diarrhoea probably a result of the prodigious smoking that had been the only thing to entertain during the humungous gaps between songs.

Brian Jonestown Massacre

Initially the tunes are lovely though. Opener ‘Whoever You Are’ is an unexpected treat for those who were expecting the crazed front man apparently portrayed in the movie ‘Dig’ as it shimmers like The Cure, mellow and mesmerising in equal measures, and is totally contradictory to the band’s website strap line ‘Keep Music Evil’.

The music has all the right nods at various points. The Stones, The Cure, Jesus & Mary Chain, Ride, Lennon, The Byrds and even The Monkees all get a reference in the mix, but by the 16th song of the night though it all becomes a bit wearying. Newcombe’s vocal changes little, the riffs, while great, all blend, and not being able to make out a word (and I’m aware this is making me sound like my dad) leaves the viewer increasingly frustrated. It’s no wonder the band’s legend contains so much drink and drug abuse because Newcombe found no spice of life in variety.

You could quite easily take 45 minutes from the 2 hour set and find an excellent gig therein. I left into the 5th minute of post-curfew feedback from an on-his-knees Newcombe whilst his drummer, who had already been backstage two or three times since the tuneful part of ‘Swallowtail’ ended, banged his cymbal with a tambourine in a bored manner. He looked like the office worker who had been asked for 5 more minutes on a Friday when all he wanted to do was go to the pub.

article by: Jonathan Haggart

photos by: Kirsty Umback

published: 03/07/2006 08:57


sorry, we currently have no gigs listed for this act.