As the Underground Lovers, launched their reverb drenched soundscapes upon the crowd of mostly Gen X’s, many of whom cite Psychocandy as one of their favourite albums, the space at 170 Russell was filling up quickly.
Lead vocalist Vincent Giarrusso is singing with searing intensity and charming punters with old chestnut “I was Right” and favourites from their rich back catalogue. The line up includes stalwart members Glenn Bennie and Philippa Nihil, and as always The Undies are a joy to watch live.
The conspicuous Psychocandy emblazoned back drop is soon bathed in pink and violet light and Scottish shoegazers The Jesus and Mary Chain take their spots, to piercing screams from the fans. Lead vocalist Jim Reid is out front whilst brother William and the other band members remain hidden from view under blue tinged light. It’s as though the lighting has formed prison bars, separating Jim Reid from his bandmates. Perhaps this is the effect they have intended, but it does create a disjointed scene on stage rather than generating a brooding atmosphere.
“We were going to play Psychocandy then do the other songs as an encore, but that seemed a bit presumptuous so we’re going to do the encore first” explains Reid. One wonders whether Psychocandy can still stand up after it’s release just over 30 years ago, particularly when there is an encore of other songs which may outshine the landmark album, lauded by critics at it’s debut.
“April Skies” is an upbeat pop gem and a departure from the band’s darker material in Psychocandy. Hit single, synth drum led “Head On” follows on in this vein and later “Some Candy Talking” slows the pace down before the brutal “Reverence” with Reid singing “I wanna die just like Jesus Christ.” It is ominous and drenched in a wall of feedback turned up to eleven.
“Just Like Honey” signals the start of the Psychocandy album, which begins and then is promptly stopped by Reid, signalling his disapproval to the sound mixing desk, but unlike their notorious early shows inciting riots, J.A.M.C. start again and finish without a hitch.
The crowd know what to expect now. There are no surprises. As The Jesus and Mary Chain, build layer upon layer of guitar soaked squall, culminating in “It’s so Hard”, the throng leave satisfied, but one can’t help but feel the first part of the set is the most enjoyable, and entertaining.