The Jesus & Mary Chain @ Manchester Academy

The Jesus & Mary Chain @ Manchester Academy


The Jesus and Mary Chain became a household name in 1985 when they released their critically acclaimed debut album Psychocandy. The East Kilbride outfit, formed by brothers Jim and William Reid in 1983, recorded a series of six studio albums before disbanding in 1999.

The band briefly reformed in 2007 to play a string of live dates, including Coachella Festival, but it has been some 19 years since they released a studio album. That changed on Friday when they released Damage and Joy on ADA/Warner Music. The album title is a translation of the German term schadenfreude, and was recorded with producer Youth over 2015 and 2016.

The album’s release is accompanied by a 23-date European tour, which saw them come to Manchester on Saturday to a packed-out Academy audience. The Shimmer Band open proceedings with their Manchester flavoured indie brit-pop and they are well received by the early birds.

Our headliners take the stage to rapturous applause, they thank the crowd and open proceedings with ‘Amputation’, the opening track from Damage and Joy. The fuzz noise opening makes way for the more familiar JAMC sound with strong hints back to earlier hits and is lapped up. ‘April Skies’ from Darklands follows, more melodic in focus and has the crowd swaying and singing along keenly. ‘Head On’ from Automatic is the third song taken from as many albums and cranks the tempo up as bodies start to move.

‘Between Planets’ stays in the same era and is arguably the stereotypical JAMC sound that people have come to know and love, before ‘Blues from a Gun’ completes the Automatic trio with edgy guitar riffs and lashings of shoegaze fuzz. New track ‘Always Sad’ sees the addition of a female vocalist which adds a charming touch. We’re treated to a song they have not played live in a while in the form of ‘Cherry Came Too’. Psychocandy’s much loved ‘The Hardest Walk’ is handed a double opening due to a stage mishap, it’s nice to know even bands who have been in the game for 32 years make mistakes from time to time.

‘All Things Must Pass’ and ‘Some Candy Talking’ form a striking duo with the juxtaposition of the moody, fast-paced first and the second melancholic and lyric-laden. ‘Half Way to Crazy’ comes penultimately before they say their goodbyes; “this is our last song but we’ll be back out to play some more for you”. An extended intro sounding eerily reminiscent of a Stooges song, before it breaks into a perfectly executed ‘Reverence’ from 1992 album Honey’s Dead. Bows are taken and the stage empties. The crowd dutifully cheers and whoops appropriately.

The six-track encore begins with another mishap, take two and ‘Nine Million Rainy Days’ rings out. ‘Just Like Honey’ begins a Psychocandy trio and has long been a fan favourite and the opening beats ensure an instant cheer and a singalong ensues. Yet another mistake (are they doing this to show us they really are still human?!) for ‘You Trip Me Up’ before ‘The Living End’ hits hard showing their adoring fans that they still have it. To end they choose new track ‘War on Peace’, which highlights nicely the progress made and that they have by no means forgotten who they are, and what they are about.

The Jesus and Mary Chain – just the name evokes a sense of awe from most, and with performances like tonight, it’s not difficult to understand why they have acquired such a cult status.

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Lover of all things psych and shoegaze and the mind behind Astral Elevator; constantly seeking new musical experiences in a world full of noise.