Wednesday, October 1, 2008

My Bloody Valentine Played The Concourse

Let it first be said: there is no hype. The doting, and worship, and awe that has been placed upon My Bloody Valentine's live show are completely justified. There's the extreme volume, the live renditions of songs that have become near legendary, and the presence of a band that is notoriously cloistered. But more than that, there is the delivery of a completely new dimension to the music that so many listeners already know by heart. The band is masterful at reproducing its records live, but they also take on new characteristics. The bass is more throbbing, the distortion more alive, and the drums had more attack. In short, it was everything a live show should be.

Openers Spectrum put on a solid performance of dark, analogue-synth driven rock. The set started a tad slowly, but picked up speed as it moved along, and culminated with a nice barrage of drums and tweaked out synths from frontman Peter Kember. While the set was strong, it paled quite notably in comparison to what was coming next.

When MBV took the stage, the crowd became noticeably more enlivened. This was the main act: it was what everyone was there to see. The band blasted into the set, and a wave of noise swept over the concourse. The bass alone was enough to rattle your chest, but the treble was there too: just as loud and crystal clear. Cheers to the band's soundman, as they appear to have somehow defied the Concourse's notorious bad sound, and delivered on the MBV promise.

The band's set was very similar to those that have been played on this tour. We didn't manage to get it down on paper, because frankly, we were too engrossed in the show. Suffice it to say that it traversed the band's two records and EP's, but that the focus was definitely on Loveless. To hear the tracks that we've all listened to so many times on record, was truly a treat. Seeing Kevin Shields play guitar was almost surreal: It's an event that seemed for so long like it would never happen, and now here it was, happening.

Finally, there was the main event of the main event: the wave of noise in the middle of "You Made Me Realise". It's been described by many, to varying degrees of extremity: sickening, cleansing, peace-bringing, what have you. In the end, what it is is 25 minutes of 130 decibel feedback and distortion. Some people were covering their ears, some were smiling, some waved their hands in the air. Still, the sonics of this grand finale are not what really hit home with us. What's truly impressive about this stalwart of My Bloody Valentine performance is that they do it at all. There is simply no other band out there creating this kind of music, this kind of noise, for people to consider and take into their heart and soul. And at the end of the day, that's why we're so glad to have My Bloody Valentine back in the world of the living: They are offering something different, food for thought, a piece of the musical pie that you can simply get nowhere else.

Many more pictures in the HAD Archive.


catbites said...

ok, yes, MBV sounded great last night, but that 25 minutes of noise, to me, was pretty much just offensive. it was fine for the first 5 or 10 minutes as i was still pretty ok with just considering what was happening, but after a while, i started to wonder WHY!!?

also, the opening bands were pretty awful, not sure if we were at the same show.

Anonymous said...

The show sounded great, but that 25 minutes of rocket engine noise was awful.

Anonymous said...

how can you be a fan of MBV and not know that they do the so-called "holocaust chord" in the middle of this song?

now i know what it's like to be standing next to a rocket, and it is in fact a transcendent experience.

stonesnpaste said...

"There is simply no other band out there creating this kind of music, this kind of noise, for people to consider and take into their heart and soul."

Well said! Even if there were, you wouldn't be able to talk about the music without drawing references to MBV.

You took some awesome photos!

catbites said...

anonymous: i guess i'm not a real MBV fan i guess. i guess as a real fan, you're pretty familiar with their set lists from the last 18 years. lucky!!