I'm Quitting My Job to Become a BJMhead

Ok, so, not really. But after the pair of Brian Jonestown Massacre shows I went to this past weekend/week, the idea of leaving work behind and following them around the planet on tour seems like a pretty darned good one. Anton Newcombe is my pied piper...

My enlightenment began the evening of Saturday, April 4th, at the Trocadero in Philly. My friend and I did our drinking beforehand, so as to not get stuck in the drinking pen (pardon me, bar area) the Troc utilizes to keep their alcohol in check. Whatever. Lame venue policies are not important. What was/is important is that I was on pins and needles to finally see the Brian Jonestown Massacre for the first time ever. From our vantagepoint at the side of the stage under the balcony overhang, we had a great view of everyone (save for Anton, most of the time). So when certain people (Matt Holllywood and Joel Gion) strolled and sauntered onstage, I had the perfect view, and subsequently nearly fainted from the sheer bliss of it all. It was, without question, the best show I've been to this year (excluding SXSW, of course). With the return of so many original(ish) members to the lineup, the songs sounded as they were meant to sound: thorougly beautiful. And really, I can't think of any other contemporary band that can pull off having four, sometimes five (count 'em: Anton, Matt, Frankie, and Ricky, with Rob splitting time between keys and guitar) guitarists and not sound like overindulgent assholes, or like a jumbled mess. I had been prepared to see just about anything at the Troc that night, but I hadn't quite been ready for how good the band was going to be. If you were to close your eyes and imagine the most perfect Jonestown gig ever, you might think of the Philly show. Anton's days of freaking out seem to be a distant memory; he even complimented the crowd on how "handsome" we all were. "Anemone," "Who?", "Got My Eye on You", "Not If You Were the Last Dandy on Earth", "Oh Lord", and "Servo" were all part of the extensive set. And hearing nearly a third of my favorite BJM album, Take It From the Man!, was glorious. I think I was smiling for the entire two hours I was at the show. Everyone there, band included, seemed to be having a great time. It was nigh on perfect, friends. So perfect, that I decided to scrap my plans to see Neko Case here in Richmond on the following Monday, and instead hit the 95 trail and see the BJM at the lovely 9:30 Club.

The show on Monday, April 6th, was just as perfect. The crowd was, astonishingly, even more raucous than in Philly. And I for one didn't expect the place to be as packed as it was, though it certainly made me happy to see all those smiling faces. The setlist featured many similar songs to the Philly show, though in a far different order. I had a wonderful vantage point for the show, up on the balcony to the right of the stage. I could see everyone well, including Anton, this time. They awed me once more, and I wondered to myself how it was possible for one single band to be so freakishly talented. Song after song after song, every single note was perfect. I also got a kick out of the band's collective blatant disregard for the no-smoking in DC thing, as band member after band member lit up and puffed away. Seeing Joel doing his thing with the tambourine and a drooping ciggy made my night complete. And then, after just over two and a half hours later, it was over. But it was sublime, friends. Sublime. And by the way, add Matt Hollywood to my list of crushes...

We've all seen "Dig!" by now. We're all aware of how shambolic this band used to be, how it teetered on the brink of implosion (not to mention greatness) every other day. But we've also seen how fucking transcendant this band can be when they're together. For my money, they're one of the best live bands out there, and one of a very exclusive list of bands that would induce me to drive all the way to Philly and back in a 24-hour span. And in a perfect world, I'd quit my job and follow them around like one of those wacky Phish fans. Just minus all the patchouli.

DC Set:
1. Whoever You Are
2. Vacuum Boots
3. B.S.A.
4. Nevertheless
5. When Jokers Attack
6. Sailor
7. Who?
8. Got My Eye on You
9. Servo
10. Yeah Yeah
11. That Girl Suicide
12. Wasted
13. Hide And Seek
14. Wisdom
15. Not If You Were the Last Dandy on Earth
16. A New Low in Getting High
17. Anenome
18. Nailing Honey to the Bee
19. Here It Comes
20. Prefab Ambulation
21. Telegram
22. Serious Matters
23. Oh Lord
24. Satellite
25. Swallowtail

And as a special treat, a little Brian Jonestown Massacre for you, live and in person. Enjoy.


Popular Posts