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the brian jonestown massacre

LIVE: The Brian Jonestown Massacre @ The Leadmill | 22.10.18

WORDS BY RUSSELL HOPE         PHOTO BY MANC WANDERER

We arrive at The Leadmill at 7.20, the doors open in 10 minutes time and a few of the hardcore fans are already outside, lining up for the drug-fuelled rock ‘n’ rollers, The Brian Jonestown Massacre to wow them from their very crowded stage. Last time I saw them (which was also the first time I’d witnessed one of their famous live shows), they played for 3 hours, had a heated argument between most songs, Anton Newcombe the troubled creative genius of the band argued with the crowd and each song with the slightest error was repeated to strive for live perfection. We expect the very same entertainment tonight in Sheffield. “We’ve heard people in Leeds say you guys can’t do rock n roll. I know differently. You ARE rock n roll Sheffield!” Joel Gion steps off the tour bus followed shortly after by Anton, their swagger into The Leadmill tells the early arrivals in the queue that they’re up for this one! Time for a quick drink up the road before URF – who are supporting BJM – take to the stage.

URF are well suited to supporting The Brian Jonestown Massacre, lots of big hair, a psych rock vibe and a synth player that has centre stage with some mega dark looks and wet slicked hair. They play through their 30 minute slot with an air of excitement to be in town: “This is our first time playing Sheffield. We’re nervous as fuck!” The nerves didn’t show. Similar characteristics to BJM with pounding bass, guitar and the addition of amazing vocals. That woman can command a stage and rock the guitar at the same time. I saw them in the crowd during BJM later and they probably cant believe their luck playing alongside one of the biggest drug rock psych experts in the world, BJM. Their debut EP ‘For the Ride’ is out now, there’s a few hundred people from Sheffield looking out for that one!

They’re referred to as the biggest 60’s revival band since the 60’s and are fully authentic. BJM fronted by, Anton Newcombe have been knocking out album after album since the late 90’s, if you want an insight into where they’re from check out ‘DIG!’ on YouTube. It’s 1 hour and 46 minutes of pure BJM along side their sponsors in the music industry, A&R and their long time recording buddies The Dandy Warhols, well worth watching.

Anton swaggers to the stage, wearing a deerstalker, parka (underneath he has a white t-shirt that says ‘Eat Shit.’ in huge red letters), filming the band and then the crowd to a rapture of cheers and applause. Joel has his trademark grin on his face and his eyes ready for the performance are nearly bigger than his sideburns. Anton stands off to the side and Joel centre stage ready for percussion duties. There’s a tension to the band, those new to the BJM stand almost look nervous due to Anton’s pursuit of perfection and that shows half way through the set.”I’m driving this car and you’re in the baby seat! You dig?!” is just one of the instructions Anton comfortably dishes out. He doesn’t care, it’s his world, those along for the ride know what he’s like if they don’t like it they can move along.

Joel has a presence on the stage as Anton’s pacifier, friend, psuedo arch enemy and beat master. He’s glued to the spot with his rhythm and occasional vocal being a clear backbone to the band as a founding member, with the rest of the band surrounding them – with 9 members on there at one point. It’s a massive sound!

 

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The songs come from ‘PISH’, ‘Anemone’, ‘Forgotten Dreams’ and each of the tracks has at least a 30 second – 2 minute setup time before the song starts, this setup is all part of Anton’s zero-tolerance of mistakes, and imperfections. “I need to make sure the reverb is right on this before we begin. I was high for the entirety of this album and I want this guitar to sound like drugs.” Anton oozes pride with his music and they’ve never held back in the amount of mind expansion over the years, “Oh yeah a bit of advice, if you’re high when recording make sure you’re sound engineer understands drugs, my sound engineer on this album was straight and trying to explain the sound to him was impossible. Someone who has never done drugs should not try and mix an album that has been recorded when high. It’s like asking a square to contemplate the shape of a pineapple.” The crowd laugh with admiration for his honesty, wit and amazement for the music, Anton strums his guitar and checks in with those on stage who all clearly understand drugs, “Does that sound like drugs to you?”

‘Anemone’ receives a huge cheer right from the first note and tambourine – it’s a favourite of mine and most of the crowd, with a few moments of crowd surfing by way of showing appreciation and it seems like each guitar hook is held slight as if to draw the crowd in even more. BJM are amazing performers, naturally delivering on their terms, there’s no perceived fakeness and they are stronger together, although Anton’s volatility has nearly left him going it alone a few times I’m sure. The band wait for Anton, are lead by Anton and also lead Anton himself. “It’s 23 past, what do you want me to do?” – this marks the end of the night particularly as the band curfew was 23 minutes ago, the rest of the band are looking at him and probably wanting to suggest what happens next, they hold back and let him do what he wants. A way into ’23 past’ the feedback continues and Anton jumps onto the drums continuing the feedback into an improvised extension with drums and synths, more reverb and further entertaining the remaining crowd. This is the second time I’ve seen them and it was twice as good as the first, I’m still playing catch up on lots of their music and looking forward to the next live The Brian Jonestown Massacre experience.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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perfect body psych

EP: Bubblewrap Collective Presents Perfect Body & Zac White

Words – Richard Samuel

When it comes to psychedelic/shoegaze indie, Wales punches above its weight with its most famous export the Super Fury Animals still flying the flag well across the globe. Cardiff-based Bubblewrap Collective are keeping up that fine tradition. The label, who were behind 2017’s successful split EP with Boy Azooga and Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard, have just dropped their latest split EP release from psych-upcomers Perfect Body & Zac White.

Kicking off the two-track release, Cardiff’s Perfect Body. Formed in early 2017 and inspired by the sonic experimentation of bands like My Bloody Valentine, Stereolab, and The Brian Jonestown Massacre, Perfect Body are one of the highly-tipped in the Welsh capital. Having secured a place on the Green Man Rising stage earlier this year, in just over a year the five-piece have secured huge support from music outlets including Drowned in Sound, BBC Introducing alongside the PRS Foundation backed artist development scheme – Forté Project.

Upon pressing play, Perfect Bodies present us with the delicious pysch-pop track ‘Fields’, the music equivalent of sinking a pint of your favourite ice-cold beer. The distinctively polished production gives a garage-pysch feel to the reverb smothered hooks, the woozy glacial synthesisers that really drench in character from the otherworldly three-way vocals haunt the track. There is a certain haze and shimmer that shrouds the track, in turn making you envisage the band huddled together to record in their bedroom. Perfect Body retain pop sensibilities making it a wholly accessible listen, taking you on a trip that knows where it’s going but via the lovely scenic route to get its destination. Whether you want an easy or complex listen, this track has it both.

Zac White perfect body

Next up, 19-year-old Zac White. Honing his own sound based on influences such as Wilco, Loose Fur, Sonic Youth and Broadcast, Zak’s 90s/00s off-kilter indie sound has grown from minimal arrangements with drummer Ethan Hurst into a rollicking, reverb-drenched, garage-psych experience; or so we’re informed by the accompanying press release.

Zac’s new single ‘Spent On You’ featured on this split EP differs from that of which Perfect Bodies offer. Whilst it’s more accessible for a casual listener, once again the musician retains his soon-to-be trademark pop sensibilities with a contemplative sun-kissed melody, bounding baselines, and glistening riffs tiptoeing into a heart on the sleeve sing-along. Its hazy-pop perfect for those clear sunset evenings that the autumn brings.

The record – pressed to limited edition purple and orange vinyl – will be released on November 23rd, which you can Pre-order here.

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