100 Shows of 2010 - #32: The Brian Jonestown Massacre @ Theatre of Living Arts, 6/8/10

I can’t lie about it, my little darlings, the Theatre of Living Arts isn’t one of my favorite venues. It’s the only place I’ve ever almost been ticketed for loitering, and something about the place itself just doesn’t work for me. But be that as it may, when my beloved Brian Jonestown Massacre announced their 2010 tour, I knew I had no choice but to suck it up and head to the TLA for the show. And of course, I’m so very glad I did. Any chance to see the BJM is a chance worth taking.

MINI RECAP: The Brian Jonestown Massacre = Still Better Than Just About Everyone! Overall score: A-.

Truth be told, it kinda felt like an off-night for the BJM. Not musically, just in terms of energy levels. That being said, even on an off-night, this is a band that is miles and miles better than the vast majority of bands out there. They could have played two songs and it probably would have been worth the four hour drive. Thankfully, I got the added bonus of quite a few songs more than just two. And they were all pretty darned well played. But of course, I’m preprogrammed to love this band. And not just because of my little crush on Matt Hollywood, mind you. But also because to my mind, as a collective they’ve got more talent onstage together than should be legal. And don’t get me started on the awesomeness that is Joel Gion.

Things got going with a really, really fine version of the most excellent “Super-Sonic”, off the most excellent album Give It Back!. The layers of sound in that one song…incredible. Most of the set, to my delight, was comprised of favorite Brian Jonestown Massacre songs, which given the size of the band’s back catalog is a pretty impressive thing to accomplish. “Vacuum Boots”, one of my all-time favorites, was second in the set, and was simply gorgeous. It nearly took my breath away. Not quite as much, though, as did “Got My Eye On You”, quite possibly my favorite BJM song, with that kicky, sassy little beat and the adorable, bespectacled Hollywood taking lead vocal duties. I dare anyone to listen to that song and not become immediately infatuated with its creators.

The fantastic “Here It Comes” was also included in the set, after some in-set tuning. Gion, ever the source of amusement, advised the crowd to “say hi to your neighbor,” while the strings were tweaked. The song itself was full and haunting, as one might expect. “Anemone”, another of my most favorite of the BJM catalog, added to my joy. The seductiveness of that song cannot be underestimated. It was one of the finest moments of the entire night, hands down. After steamrolling through a snappy little version of “Jennifer”, the band began breaking the rules by lighting up some smokes onstage. O, those naughty boys.

Still more favorites were to come, not least of which was “Wisdom”, which was so bloody good I wrote it in my notes as “WIS FUCKING DOM”. Methodrone is at the moment my favorite BJM record, so hearing this beautiful piece of psychgaze made me quite possibly the happiest girl in the room. They could have ended it there and I would have driven home with a huge smile on my face, but the set just kept going. “Going To Hell”, “Not If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth”, “That Girl Suicide”, “Whoever You Are”, “This Is Why You Love Me”, “Oh Lord”, and “Satellite” all were played, and all were varying degrees of goodness and greatness.

The Philly crowd was actually rather receptive and appreciative, and though the band themselves seemed at times not completely tuned in, the show was pretty amazing. It’s always a treat to get to see this band live, and my third time was about as much as I could have hoped for. I might not love the TLA, but if the BJM goes back there next year, I’ll be at that show in a hot second. If you’re anything like me, you feel the exact same way.

mp3: Wisdom (The Brian Jonestown Massacre from Methodrone)


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