Their second date in North America will be in Detroit, at St. Andrew's Hall, on Sunday May 3. Tickets go on sale this week.
The Jesus and Mary Chain will be touring to celebrate the 30th anniversary of their celebrated Psychocandy
The sweet, harmony-heavy debut full-length by the Scottish duo of Jim and William Reid was a bit of a shock to fans at the time, as it was a departure from their highly noisy, excellent first recordings, and legendarily short and crazily loud chaotic early shows which often incited riots. They were one of my favorite bands at the time. How could you not love a band of pretty young snotty people with cool haircuts who loved the Shangri-Las as much as the Velvets, and who caused actual riots all while looking so disaffected it was a miracle they got out of bed in the first place?
In the early to mid 1980s, I lived just close enough in suburban south Florida to one record store (Yesterday & Today) that would order records for you, and let you paw through their store copies of New Musical Express
and Melody Maker
(or also Sounds
if those weren't at hand). This meant that I was buying the first 7" releases on the Creation label as they were coming out.
"Upside Down," their squalling first single from 1984, remains one of the most exciting things I've ever heard. My heart still absolutely races every time I hear it. The precise way the Reid brothers (here produced by one-time Television Personalities member Joe Foster!) married absolute noise with cherry sweet pop music was just slightly original on the surface. But in the real world, it was this massively unique sound. That 7" hit me the way the first Ramones album or Second Annual Report
by Throbbing Gristle did my older friends. I played it to death. On the flipside, they recorded a Syd Barrett song that had only appeared on a bootleg up until then, marking them as fellow record nerds.
The second single, "Never Understand," was even better, as it harnessed that squall into even more of a beach party anthem. As a spoiled little angry and confused stoner, I couldn't have asked for a better soundtrack.
Their third single was maybe more of a plateau, and by now it was clear that they had signed to a major label (the record read Blanco y Negro, took a minute to figure out that was a Warners subsidiary), but they still were noisy as fuck, so who cares.
At first I was a bit taken aback by Psychocandy
as I personally wanted them to delve further into serious Metal Machine Music
territory. And here they were strumming slow sweet pop music. But I also liked that, so no biggie. And the songs were so strong, and sounded similar to the other U.K. bands I loved like the Loft and Pastels and Shop Assistants, so I got lost in its syrupy excellence.
Here is one reunion show actually totally worth going to! A lot of rock anniversary events are so boring, but to celebrate early Jesus and Mary Chain? Fucking hell, that's worth starting a riot. Or waiting in line for a long time, anyway. See you there!