The Jesus And Mary Chain Menace The Palace Theater


That The Jesus and Mary Chain are still making music is astonishing to me. Unlike the the Gallagher brothers comical, overblown for the press verbal wars of the 90’s, William and Jim Reid genuinely hated each other. They would often fist fight: onstage, back stage, it didn’t matter.  While they had great songs and a unique sound, they achieved notoriety with their deranged attitudes and tumultuous shows. One notoriously riotous show took place at a London venue in 1985. After starting the show with 2 minutes of feedback, they left the stage after 15 more and had to hide backstage from the ensuing riot. This potential for pandemonium and “ f*ck you” attitude was what people were looking for, and this outrageousness cemented the Mary Chain’s street cred. All of this tumult took its toll, and in 1999 the band called it quits. This wasn’t the end, however, and in 2007 the brothers got back together to perform at Coachella. After a bunch of best of’s and B-side releases, the Reid’s got the band back together again to record Damage and Joy which was released in March of 2017. The tour for Damage and Joy stopped by the Palace Theatre in St. Paul on Tuesday night.

First up were The Cobbs. Two dudes who share the last name Cobb, Paul and Ryan, have played together since High School. These Philly boys can jam. Their sound would definitely be at home in a 70’s era arena. If Zeppelin and the Stone Roses had a love child, it would be The Cobbs. The twin guitars were riff heavy, with both Cobbs trading licks seamlessly. Their 40-minute set included the cautionary tale of debauchery, Say You Never Knew Me. The thunderous drum runs had the crowd moving and grooving. All in all, a very powerful set!

Set list: Upsidedown – Annie Annie – Climb On Top – Ceilings –  Wondering – Like A Shot- Tear – Don’t Walk – Say You Never Knew Me – This Heart

The Jesus And Mary Chain came on around 9:05, but not before the fog machine got a P90X workout. The band hung back in this fog bank, looking like a school of piranhas in the murky Amazon River. Jim Reid emerged from the gloom and took his place at the front of the stage with a single mic stand.  Full disclosure: This is the music of my youth, and I have had the Damage and Joy playlist on a continuous loop since March. So when the band launched into Amputation it was hard to concentrate on taking photos. From the photo pit I could hear the entire Palace crowd singing the chorus, “I’m A Rock And Roll Amputee” The set leaned heavily on pre-97 songs, and Jim’s voice was glorious, while looking out belligerently from the stage. And while he occasionally spoke to the audience, his stage presence has a menace that belied the clean cut lettuce and jacket. William was somewhere in the mist, with hair to make Robert Smith jealous, conjuring up aural blasts of fuzz and melody, like Gandalf invoking timeless spells.  3-minute song after 3-minute song bludgeoned the audience. The sound was both vintage and contemporary, layered with nuance. The Jesus And Mary Chain’s set to me was proof that bands can mature – no fist fights were observed – but remain edgy, dangerous, and an absolute thrill to experience live!

Set List: Amputation – April Skies – Head On – Far And Gone Out – Between Planets – Blues From A Gun – Always Sad – Mood Rider – Teenage Lust – Cherry Came Too – The Hardest Walk – All Things Must Pass – Some Candy Talking – Halfway To Crazy – Reverence  Encore: Nine Million Rainy Days – Just Like Honey – You Trip Me Up – The Living End – Taste of Cindy – War on Peace – Never Understand – I Hate Rock And Roll