Live Review: The Brian Jonestown Massacre

5 June 2018 | 10:58 am | Stephen Munchenberg

"The singer repeatedly apologised for his voice (telling us he'd been prescribed steroids to overcome illness)."

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In Australia for Sydney's Vivid festival, The Brian Jonestown Massacre paid a welcome visit to Adelaide. The American band have a brand new album out, Something Else, and tonight we heard a few songs from it as well as plenty of oldies over a two and a half hour set.

After an inauspicious start - the band sloppily taking to the stage and singer Anton Newcombe apologising for some last-minute instrumental tune-ups - the band quickly hit full steam, although slightly later than promised. Newcombe is a notorious oddball and tonight's show was full of his murmurings, apologies and rambling statements between songs.

He's also not afraid to let his colleagues know how they are doing and during their opener he implored the band, "Slow down, please... slow down!" The pace quickly picked up with Whatever Happened to Them?, the adoring crowd hyped up by the band's infectious, slow-groove sound. Despite the singer's protestations, the seven-piece appeared in fine form, which you would expect from a group that is nearing its third decade together (although in various line-ups). It seemed a number of fans had brought their now-grown children along.

It was easy to judge fan favourites by the crowd reaction, with Pish and Anemone receiving huge cheers. New material, like Hold That Thought, also stood up well and fit seamlessly into the set.

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Newcombe, of course, is the centrepiece of the band (apart from Joel Gion who stands prominently front of stage on tambourine/maracas).

The singer repeatedly apologised for his voice (telling us he'd been prescribed steroids to overcome illness), apologised for taking a lot of time between songs (breaking a lot of strings) and discussed setlists, encores and new albums just released as well as another to come later this year.

With an occasional puff on a cigarette, Newcombe stood behind a lectern holding song lyrics, while his white T-shirt was emblazoned with the words "EAT SHIT".

According to Newcombe, travelling to Australia means the band can't bring all of their equipment, but would it really matter? The Brian Jonestown Massacre are a great band who have a great sound with all the right chords, but no hooks in sight. We loved every minute of it.