• Mark Fraser

The Jesus & Mary Chain - Sydney Opera House. March 7, 2019

It must have been around 1995 when I last saw The Jesus & Mary Chain. Beers were cheaper, the venue was trashier. And the mood was a little bleaker. Tonight, it’s the lavish throes of the Sydney Opera House, beers are ten bucks a can and there’s no support act.

I score the obligatory tour tee and sit by the bar as a mix of old farts, shoe gazers and new gen Doc Martin aficionados wearing striped Tshirts and donning fuzzed hair stroll happily on by.

The concert hall has a heavy smoky hue and when the brothers Reid et al arrive on stage, you can cut the anticipation with a jagged knife.


The psyched dirge of Amputation opens up, ahead of the beautiful sweet ragged edges of April Skies.

But it’s the sheer killer infection and instant awesomeness of Head On that has the entire hall on its feet as it explodes into the night and blows it out of the water. Jim Reid doesn’t stray too far from the mic and his bowing motions and mic lead fidgeting are as much as we’re gonna get out of him.

But its that nonchalant, somewhat sultry persona that seems to have a few cracks in it tonight and JR seems to be actually enjoying himself…motioning towards brother Willliam, as that trademark, dirged fuzzed guitar drives the JAMC sound through the blue haze and into the chasms of that multi-tiered operatic room.

Some of the best infectious, dark and moody soundscapes through to trashy dirge pop nuggets are on offer tonight.

Far Gone and Out’s schizoid wafts... and a hey hey hey ...Between Planet’s pure popped three and a half minutes.

The wall of guitar sound that is Snakedriver...fuzzed to the nth. Infection. Infection. Infection. 

Fuzz factor and volume take a notch up as it bloodies the brain and shows no mercy. Booming bottom end. Guitars driving the dirge. Some Candy Talking…beautifully seductive in all its sparseness. The menacing explosions of Halfway To Crazy.

“Who remembers Darklands?” cries Jim.  “We probably don’t, but we’re  gonna give it a try anyway.” And it’s that slower beautiful seduction once again…I wanna go… do do doot doot do…

“This is our last song but it doesnt have to be.” And Reverence opens the vault to the darkness…”I wanna die just like Jesus Christ”...a much darker prey... “I wanna die I wanna die ...”

And off they walk, leaving a frenzied sea of feedback ...before the she vox harmonies of Just like Honey’s ray of squelched sunshine sets it all on fire once again. Magic!

Cracking Up is distorto plus. Throw in the frenzy of In a Hole and the slower War and Peace and it’s the louder than loud fuzzed out awe of I Hate Rock n Roll that winds it all up. 

Epic. Noisy. Brilliant. Just the way we like it!

Mark Fraser


Here's a live taste of Head On at the Opera House.

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