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LIVE: The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Fremantle, 2 June 2018

| 6 June 2018 | Reply

LIVE: The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Fremantle, 2 June 2018
Metropolis Fremantle, Western Australia
Saturday, 2 June, 2018
Review by Brian Dunne

Photos by Damien Crocker

It’s to a packed and excited crowd at Metropolis Fremantle that Michael Savage and his band kicked off proceedings and everything about this opening act rocked. Well, that’s according to a straw poll I took in the gents immediately after they finished. I personally only caught the last few bars of the final song of their set, but the half dozen guys I asked in the dunnies all said positive things about Michael Savage – that’s good enough for me and by extension for you.

Then, at the early start time of just after 8pm, came the act that many had waited years to hear, The iBrian Jonestown Massacre. This large band quietly assembled and started with We Never Had A Chance and, frankly, we never did. From there on in The BJ Massacre led the audience on a trance-like meditation via the band’s eclectic range of new and old material.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre, for those who have hitherto not been paying attention, have been a sprawling rock act spawned initially in 1993 and have since released 18 studio albums, 13 EPs and a bunch of live and compilation albums. Aside from the obvious musical differences, BJM are something of an American version of The Fall, insofar as the band has featured a revolving cast of members – 17 by my count, a long way short of 70 for The Fall, but BJMs comparatively short existence gives them plenty of time to catch up.

Infamous frontman Anton Newcombe, like Mark E Smith of The Fall, is the only constant figure in The Brian Jonestown Massacre, though others such as guitarist Ricky Maymi and tambourine artiste Joel Gion have been there for much of the BJ Massacre experience, both fronted up on the occasion of this gig in Fremantle. While seven members played instruments on stage, this is really an 8-piece band, their fulltime on-stage instrument technician works as hard or harder than any of the players.

Although the band showcased a wide selection of their songs in this epic two-hour encounter, it was when they wound up with songs such as What Can I Say?, Anemone and the sprawling Yeah Yeah that they seemed to gobble up the entire crowd and themselves in massive swirls of ineffable beauty and brilliance.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre sound has been variously described as drone, or psych, or trance or stoner rock but to my ears it’s all just rock n’ roll. As the renowned satirical epigrammist and founding bass player with The Stems, John Shuttleworth, once explained to me, “There’s only good or shit when it comes to rock”. Perhaps he meant to say “great or shit”, because Brian Jonestown Massacre are great rock. Fucking great rock, indeed.


Category: Live Reviews, Photo Galleries

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