And then came the egg….sailing through the darkness, splicing through the stifling air, dodging ducking security guards and countless teenage heads before finally landing perfectly on the shoulder of a crouched Anton Newcombe. Ever since the underground popularity of the incendiary documentary ‘Dig!’ with its real life ‘Spinal Tap’ moments describing in minuet detail the destructiveness of band life there has always been a strand of the BJM crowd that want to reenact their favourite scenes. Scenes usually featuring a chemically destroyed Newcombe in a regular stream of punch ups and breakdowns, some played out to seemingly subconscious comic effect. They want Newcombe to perform his role as the furious clown of drone to dole out the vicious put downs and vitriolic often violent outbursts, so they badger and bait, howling at the stage until someone cracks, on this occasion it was something and just when it was all going so well…
Arriving on stage scarily on time to the strains of the glorious psychedelic soup of ‘Supersonic’ its hazy chug and spiralling melody spilling out over the half-dazed crowd it’s clear that this is not a night for new material, this is a night of musical generosity. For a band with a hefty back catalog it would be easy for Newcombe to play the Mark E. Smith audience contempt card and concentrate on material from their latest album Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? but with the addition to the line up of old collaborator and sometime adversary Matt Hollywood there is a nostalgic buoyancy to the night’s proceedings perhaps enhanced by the fact that it’s their final European date.
Whatever the reason, the band seem relaxed, happy and together without a trace of the discordant messiness which has marred their last few Irish appearances. The infamous jocular percussionist Joel Gion shaking his tambourine into the mugs of the faithful as they launch into a set list of fan favourites from the ‘Jean Genie’ on downers stomp of ‘Let Me Stand Next To Your Flower’ to the shoegaze skagged-up blues of the intoxicating ‘Anemone’ they work through the full range of their much derided sound.
The Jonestown have always fallen victim to criticism of their over indulgence in 60’s revivalism but when put in a live setting songs like the haunting ‘Nevertheless’ and ‘Sailor’ with its colossal, earth quaking outro become broader and bolder.The five guitars on stage meld into one massive climatic feedback-ringing outburst proving that Newcombe’s vision of the missing link between the psyched-up melodic structure of Love and the drone-chaos of My Bloody Valentine doesn’t seem so crazy.
It is with the arrival of the ridiculous Dandy Warhol parody of ‘Not If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth’ that things go awry, audience members not content with a subdued Anton leaving the banter to Hollywood and instead shaking fans hands, they want their monkey to dance and get the intended reaction once their missile has landed. Anton immediately exits the stage leaving Hollywood and Gion to calm the booing crowd a disturbing cinematic de ja vu sets in as the lights flicker on and guitarist Frankie Teardrop threatens to decapitate said egg lobber.
Happily there’s a change to the script as Newcombe eventually returns after ten minutes ranting about the Irish treatment of Polish immigrants and paedophile priests which is a nice change from Joyce and leprechauns. The juvenile quarter of the audience get what they came for as Newcombe remains firmly stuck in his grim filmic caricature but the rest of the crowd leave with the bitterness knowing that they’ve stolen from them a performance that could have transcended the myth.
Photos: Kieran Frost
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