Live Review: The Jesus & Mary Chain, Alvvays

8 March 2016 | 4:01 pm | Bryget Chrisfield

"It's a privilege to hear them play, but perhaps the album first, mini-set second would better satisfy."

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A queue comprising 'proper' goths assembles in front of the venue before doors open, which proves the oldies are keen for worship. Once inside the venue, we clock various Siouxsie & The Banshees, The Sisters Of Mercy and Primal Scream Screamadelica tees within the sea of black-clad folk. Alvvays are already on stage as we enter and you could see platinum blonde frontlady Molly Rankin's shining stage presence from the moon. Complimentary comments are exchanged about the Canadian indie-poppers, who decided to change the spelling of their name for ease of Google, but we know that the minute our ears hear tonight's headline act they'll suffer by comparison.

An old-school banner, a red version of The Jesus & Mary Chain's Psychocandy cover art, covers the stage's back wall to remind us they'll be playing said album in full tonight. The barnets on display in aforementioned backdrop are bushy, Echo & The Bunnymen-esque mops, which contrast the band members' appearances when they eventually take the stage. They open with April Skies (not on Psychocandy) and at first we hear Jim Reid and think, 'Oh, Jarvis Cocker was obviously influenced by him,' and then there's shades of Ramones (I Wanna Be Sedated) — it really is exciting to spontaneously work out musical lineage at a live show. Before the Scottish legends rip into Psychocandy, we get a mini-set of classics including Some Candy Talking and the danceable-as-they-get Reverence, which aptly describes the audience dynamic. Experiencing the latter song live evokes Sex Pistols (or even PiL).

After a short break, The Jesus & Mary Chain return for the album-in-full segment of their show. Opener Just Like Honey (with Rankin supplying BVs) is wonderfully morose and William Reid's guitar work is stunning throughout. The audience watches on, mesmerised, and there's zero chatter as we soak up the fuzz. What follows is a faithful recreation of their 1985 debut performed in tracklisted order. Fans cheer their allegiance as personal favourites are played, almost as if delighted by a song's inclusion even though each Psychocandy track is (obviously) included. The Reid brothers plus ring-ins don't give us much to look at, however, and they would take out a Stillism tournament, no contest. As Jim Reid's squawks accompany his brother's screaming, discordant guitar to close out It's So Hard, we know it's the end. It's a privilege to hear them play, but perhaps the album first, mini-set second would better satisfy.