The Brian Jonestown Massacre
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The Brian Jonestown Massacre


Quite a mixed generally hipster surf crowd turned out for a pre Christmas Wednesday night in The Bay. They emerged from nowhere en-mass when the international main attraction The Brian Jonestown Massacre appeared on stage - few were around for the shoe gazing performance of The KVB set which means they missed out on some wonderful tracks from this duo picked personally by Anton Newcombe as support for the tour.


The Brian Jonestown Massacre


Songs distinctly reminiscent of early British 60’s / 70’s pop punk sounds of The Rolling Stones, Echo & the Bunnymen, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Primal Scream, jangling guitar of The Byrds, The Cure and peppered with a dash of Nirvana which is all a bit surprising for a band hailing from The States. This gig rates as the pick of the year by many at the Backroom with the heady combination of great sounds, numerous guitar chops on display, quality musicians and ambient stage lighting.


The Brian Jonestown Massacre


Anton Newcombe delivered vocals on ‘Anemone’, then diverted to the very poppy ‘When Jokers Attack’ and ‘Who’, another crowd favourite. All three guitarists showcased their talents on different tracks, alternated lead vocals with the band synchronising to deliver a classy set. It was a guitar lover’s night in heaven.

The band were suitably impressed with the Byron crowd enthusiasm and size and commented it was the biggest they had seen for a while with more people here than at their recent gigs in Chicago. Other notable tracks from their extensive back catalogue included ‘Prozac vs Heroin’; ‘Wisdom’; ‘Sailor’ with Beatlesque harmonies and "mellotronic" sound was followed by ‘Open Heart Surgery’, a love song with Robert Smith like vocals.


The Brian Jonestown Massacre


The band cranked it up with ‘Not If You Were the Last Dandy On Earth’ which included instant crowd participation - bah bah bapa bah and woohooooooooo! This track was the most poppy song of the night. ‘There's A War Going On’ included harmonica and ‘That Girl Suicide’ styling similar to Gary Neumann and The Cars from the mid 80's.

Finishing with the 60s sounding ‘Oh Lord’ - let the good times roll I believe! I am now converted and part of the BJM following, perhaps I was brought under their influence by the hypnotic subliminal messages in the music, vocals and lyrics. Sadly the encouraging and enthusiastic crowd demand for an encore well after the house lights went up was a no go at the Northern on a weeknight. Don't miss them next time they in town...


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