The Jesus and Mary Chain celebrate 30 years of ‘Psychocandy’ at the Vogue Theatre

All photos by Jashua Peter Grafstein for
Photo by Jashua Peter Grafstein for

Scottish alt-rock pioneers the Jesus and Mary Chain have been touring in celebration of their iconic debut album Psychocandy‘s 30th anniversary. Vancouver’s Vogue Theatre was lucky enough to have made the tail end of the band’s nine-date North American stint.

Before the group performed their entire landmark record, they whipped through several of their other most popular songs including “April Skies”, “Head On”, “Reverence”, and “Upside Down”.

A bit concerningly, the band played their brief initial set rather straightforwardly, and Jim Reid’s vocals and mannerisms came off as disinterested, even for him. But the band returned in finer form for the main portion of the night.

The iconic drum intro on “Just Like Honey”, and the biggest ovation at that point, led the band back out onstage. And thus the warm-up ended. From performance to presentation, every detail improved: The band played with greater intent, picking up the overall tempo. Reid raised his voice louder. Visuals came into the mix, projected onto the stage backdrop.

Although the Jesus and Mary Chain’s greatest legacy will be their coating of pop songs with layers of harsh noise, at the Vogue, their songs sounded quite transparent with hardly a wrong note. Even cleaned up, songs including “The Living End” and “In a Hole” caused adrenaline to spike, as if the fans were the ones flying down the highway on a motorcycle in the video that ran in the background. Everyone did their best gothic shuffle to “Taste the Floor”, reveling in the piercing screech that kicks in halfway through the song. More downtempo tracks including “Cut Dead” and “Some Candy Talking” allowed fans to just sway and bask in the reality that they were witnessing the Jesus and Mary Chain, perhaps one last time, or for the only time.

The Jesus and Mary Chain’s performance wasn’t quite the feedback-filled torrent of noisy pop that most fans may have expected, but the vibe throughout the night did not feel as though anyone minded too much; they were probably just glad to have finally had the chance to see legendary band. The Jesus and Mary Chain could have been more spontaneous, more chaotic, and noisier; the crowd could have been livelier, yes. (Perhaps everyone was too awestricken to have fully moved their bodies. But that’s a stretch.) Whatever the reason though, and whatever the reaction, the feeling in the air as the capacity crowd filed out onto Granville Street, into the brisk night, was one of recovering from rapture. Here’s waiting for Darklands‘ 30th.

View more photos from the show here.

Leslie Ken Chu

Leslie Ken Chu