BJM Live

Carol Bowditch was at the sold-out Raveonettes and Brian Jonestown Massacre show in Sydney: 
Having already sold out the Metro, this massive double headliner played a follow-up show to fans at OAF. The Raveonettes got the ball rolling. After starting with slower, acoustic ballads that helped ease themselves and the crowd into the set, as things progressed the songs became more daring and frenzied. Within the heavier tracks, however, the harmonic shared vocals were often lost and indistinguishable, hidden under dense layers of guitar fuzz that washed over the crowd.
The duo remained effortlessly cool as they played songs back-to-back with little interaction with the audience. There was one moment however, where singer Sharin (pictured below), broke her restrained demeanour, flashing a cheeky smile to the punters. From this break of poise, you could tell that she could see that the crowd were obviously digging what was being created on stage. A climatic performance of Aly Walk With Me closed their show. The chainsaw-like guitar feedback was interspersed with seductive vocals, and a delicate chime noise sounded intermittently between the aggressive sounds created by Sharin as she mashed her palm against the fret board. It was just perfect.

Brain Jonestown Massacre (pictured top and below) then took over to a heaving venue. The San Fran eight-piece, led by the notoriously surly Anton Newcombe, played a marathon two-hour set, playing a mix of old and new material. The crowd, sardined within the space, outstretched their limbs to catch the lights from the stage and make shapes to the shoegazey, blues infused sounds. They danced as the band churned out hits like the psychedelic rollercoaster of That Girl Suicide and the hypnotic Super-Sonic. Positioned far side-stage, Newcombe was constantly being upstaged by percussionist, the “tambourine man” Joel Gion, who exerted charisma and showmanship throughout the show to the delight of the crowd. His cocky stage presence really added to the rock n roll image of the band that we had coveted in the documentary Dig!. A surprising inclusion to the set was (David Bowie I Love You) Since I Was Six that had the crowd droning along to the down tempo rework. Anemone, usually sung by a female vocalist, worked fine with Anton’s lead and was still delightfully fluid and full of attitude.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s set was long, obviously, due to the twenty or so album releases that they have under their belt.  There were times where the similar sounding tracks became tiresome, but I guess my expectations that they would play their 90’s releases like Take it From The Man, or Strung Out in Heaven in their entirety was never going to happen. The band took heavily from this year’s release Aufheben, which from lack of familiarly, didn’t resonate as strongly with me as the old favourites that they played.
Overall, the two bands played the new material that they were here to tour well, both displaying the fine musicianship that they are known for. I’ll definitely need to take the time to give both new releases a proper listen.

Review by Carol Bowditch. Photos by Carol Bowditch and Bobby Townsend.