The Jesus & Mary Chain: Head On

Jesus & Mary Chain

The Jesus and Mary Chain were a band that I never quite got at the time. I got ‘Psychocandy’ and it was OK but didn’t blow me away. I picked up ‘Automatic’ cheaply in Woolworths (I think I might have paid £1.99 for it) and again it was quite good but not enough to make me understand why they were so acclaimed and why they were such a written about group in the music press during the 1980s. A few years down the track I bought the ‘I Hate Rock ‘N’ Roll’ and ‘Sometimes Always’ singles on 10” vinyl as I really liked the songs. But the overall impression was OK, but not that good.

I retrospect one of my biggest musical regrets is that I didn’t go with my housemate and see the Rollercoaster Tour when it hit the exotic heights of the Whitley Bay Ice Rink back in March 1992. The tour was a four band affair; Blur, My Bloody Valentine, Dinosaur Jr and headlined by the JAMC. Essentially I didn’t go because it was too expensive at a whole £12.50 to go see four bands that I just wasn’t that into. This was at a similar time to when I was paying £6 to see Nirvana, £3.50 to see the Smashing Pumpkins and £4 to see Pearl Jam. So £12.50 WAS a pretty big deal. But you live, you learn. Having seen Blur plenty of times, I finally got to see and photograph Dinosaur Jr last year and made up for lost time by seeing the JAMC twice in three days… So now I’m just waiting on MBV to complete the set….

The V fest set on the Sunday was good, although not enough volume, not enough reverb and not enough feedback. Ultimately, I don’t think JAMC are a festival band, and especially not a late-afternoon festival band at the most corporate festival around. After having gone to both the Sydney and V Festivals last year, this year was a real disappointment. I was glad to have bought half price tickets on eBay. And glad I wore boots so I could point and laugh at the people in flip-flops walking around (and even rolling around) in sewage…

The Tuesday night show at The Arena was a lot more like I had expected, with near ear bleeding volume. One disappointment was that the set was very similar to the one played at V and they didn’t play for much longer at their own sideshow; about 65 minutes.

Photographing them was a challenge; none of the front lights were on, with only strong back and some side-lighting being used. I knew that most of what I would end up with would be very silhouetted so I tried to work with that, shooting into the light for much of the three songs I was allowed to photograph for. Ultimately I was trying for a strong shot of both brothers and I think, considering the conditions, that I got a couple of half decent photos and a few good ones of William. Whereas William was stood near to some lights, photographing Jim, who was facing front with no light on his face, was much more problematic.

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William Reid

Jim Reid

Jim Reid

William Reid

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