Music review: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Saint Luke’s, Glasgow

Essentially a greatest hits set with a few new tracks sparingly introduced, this ‘warm-up’ show ahead of the Mary Chain’s 40th anniversary tour showed there’s still musical fire in the band’s belly, writes Fiona Shepherd

The Jesus and Mary Chain, Saint Luke’s, Glasgow ****

The Jesus and Mary Chain warmed up for the release of their latest album Glasgow Eyes with an intimate show in the titular city, generating a pleasant buzz of anticipation in the capacity crowd, far removed from the tension of olden days. Still, it wouldn’t be a Mary Chain show without a false start or two. “And this is sober,” remarked frontman Jim Reid wryly at one point, as the band stuttered to a stop.

Reid’s vocals have barely aged a day, ranging from baritone croon to edgier whine to direct melodicism with ease, and there is still musical fire in the band’s belly, as evinced by the more experimental playground of the new album.

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A number of newbies were sparingly introduced to what was essentially a greatest hits set. The punk Hawkwind of jamcod, with lyrics recalling a notorious gig of yesteryear, is an auspicious return, the minimalist alt.rock torch song Chemical Animal slightly less so, while the Joan Jett-referencing Stones shout-out The Eagles and The Beatles is the latest in a long line of rock’n’roll homage, from the driving Mo Tucker-style rhythm of In A Hole to The Stoogesque rumble of Cracking Up.

Of the rest of the set, the indie anthem April Skies has aged well, the beautifully constructed Some Candy Talking even better, while All Things Must Pass captured their signature balance between a catchy tune and a garage rock sound.

Pastels drummer Katrina Mitchell and Rachel Conte provided contrasting guest vocals in encore renditions of Just Like Honey and rocking new track Girl 71. There was sadly no slot for their intoxicating debut single Upside Down on its 40th anniversary, but the no-nonsense sprint of Taste of Cindy and sweet melancholy of Darklands satisfied the old school, while Sidewalking remained the meanest trawl of all.

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