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All Night Long

South by Southwest Aftershots
Michael Toland, March 22, 2012
Photo by Sandy Carson

The Jesus & Mary Chain

The Belmont, March 15

Taking the stage with, "We're the Jesus & Mary Chain, and we're here to ruin your evening," the pioneering noise-pop UK combo launched into a hits-heavy set with the midtempo groover "Snakedriver." Coming after an amped-up performance by the Arkells, the Scottish group seemed subdued, but its dour stage presence remains part of its charm. It's always been difficult to tell if the band is enjoying its performance. Besides, when you have the cavalcade of singles the Chain laid down here – "Happy When It Rains," "Head On," "Just Like Honey," "Far Gone and Out," and a burning "Blues From a Gun" – you don't need to overachieve to make a crowd happy. (It worked for the young man who jumped onstage and attempted to disrobe.) Guitarist Mark Crozer seemed to have trouble with the band's deliberately simple riffs, but William Reid's distorted rhythms covered, and brother Jim's raspy croon was the focus in any case. After the sneering "Reverence," Jim announced, "This is the part of the show where we go offstage and come back on, but we can't be fuckin' bothered." The band then indulged in three of its noisiest tunes, ending the show with the eardrum-punishing "Never Understand" and letting the piercing waves of feedback push its satiated fans back into the night.

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