By Nick White, Journalist and Desh Kapur, Photograph–ROCK AT NIGHT MANCHESTER
Venue: Manchester Academy 20/10/18-The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Strange Waves IV (main stage)
Strange waves IV was only ever really going to be about The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Showing no signs of diminishing and seemingly at the height of their genre defining powers following the release of a string of extraordinarily relevant LP’s since the masterful Revelation re-affirmed their relevance in 2014 and fronted by the ever creative energy and genius of Anton Newcombe there seems no limit to the uber-cool collective’s power to create life affirming music and art as they steadfastly follow an unstoppable trajectory to “turn on” successive generations to the finest psych this or probably any other planet will ever know.
That being the premise one could almost feel sorry for the other acts on the night. Billed as a “festival” it was never really that. The Flamingods could justifiably feel most aggrieved. Bewilderingly given the graveyard opening turn, acres of floor space greeted their dazzlingly original and eclectic brand of psychedelia. Die hard early birds were rewarded with a richly inventive set concluding with the excellent kraut-esque “Hyperborea”, propelled thunderously by a simply gorgeous bass that wouldn’t be out of place on Can’s seminal “mother sky”.
Tim Burgess’s solo outing under-whelmed comprehensively and inevitably Charlatan fans were left disappointed. Kadhja Bonet just confused. Their lounger jazz bimblings were neither strange nor made any waves. At least the mid bill exasperation afforded the BJM faithful more time to anticipate the real and only reason for attending and swap memories of debauchery and previous legendary appearances by the band in the city.
And so to the strains of Dolly Parton “working 9 til 5” the stage made way and submitted totally for the onslaught of the mighty BJM. The career spanning set that followed included a mix of songs from this year’s “Something Else” LP alongside firm favourites “Sailor” “That Girl Suicide” “Pish” and “Anenome” all naturally bathed in layer upon layer of the richest of tremolo laden guitar distortion and delivered with an almost effortless ease. It’s not just their guitars that get better and better with age. The all too short set (a mere hour and a half. Well it was a “festival” after all) drew to an epic finale with a seven guitar (you need to rope in the roadies too to pull of that one!! Do the maths) yes seven guitar rendition of “A Word”, another excellent new tune due to hit turntables later this year.
Concluding with a feedback laden outro where one by one the BJM trudged off stage leaving their delay overloaded rigs ripping up the PA with tinnitus inducing harmonics the now lone Anton Newcombe assumed drumming duties anchoring the sonic landscapes as they disintegrated like dying embers leaving the audience audibly bludgeoned in submission. Just fucking brilliant.
The BJM. The best band that never came from Manchester. And that makes them a contender for the ultimate accolade. One for any true music fan’s bucket list.
Von Goloka 22/10/2018
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