The Jesus And Mary Chain – Reverence

30th March 2024 · 1990s, 1992, Music, Postpunk

Yesterday, as every good Catholic knows, was Good Friday – the counter-intuitively named day when Jesus was crucified. So it was only right and fitting that I spent the evening watching The Jesus and Mary Chain at The Roundhouse. And it was doubly appropriate that they finished their set with their cataclysmic anthem Reverence.

That’s the one where Jim Reid declares: “I want to die just like Jesus Christ / I want to die on a bed of spikes… I want to die just like JFK / I want to die on a sunny day” while his brother William creates squalls of distorted guitar noise.

It was, if it’s not blasphemous to use profane language about such a sacred subject, fucking fantastic.

So was the whole gig; which came as a big surprise to me, having seen the Mary Chain three or four times since their early days, all of them marked by their dour personas, flat performance and, all too often, terrible sound.

None of that was evident from the moment they bounced onstage with a cheery hello to the audience, through the bit where Jim asked us to hug the bloke who had come from America to watch every single European date if we saw him, to this, the very end.

Not that it was all sweetness and light: there were three or four false starts during which we held our breath in case of another outbreak of the sibling violence that last brought an end to the band in mid-song. Thankfully, they got through it.

So great was their debut Psychocandy, and so patchy were some of their subsequent albums, most notably the painfully poor Automatic and equally disappointing Munki, that I’d forgotten how many great songs they have in their repertoire.

They played pretty much all of them except Happy When It Rains and Never Understand – the first JAMC song I heard – and they played them with power, passion and a primal force that shook the foundations of the building.

Never more so than when they played this.