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Brian Jonestown Massacre, Riverside, Newcastle

  • Published in Live

The Brian Jonestown Massacre are a prolific bunch; something evidenced by the merch stand and the plethora of their albums for sale at tonight’s show. With so many tracks to choose from to it comes as no surprise that there is no support act this evening, instead the band are set to play a mammoth three-hour set. Something that is almost unheard of unless you’re The Cure, as they have a tendency to that as well.

Taking to the stage shortly after eight, the band seem to be in high spirits with band leader Anton Newcombe filming the crowd as they take to the stage. They waste no time in getting stuck into their set though, their very languid style aids a rather chilled out evening of some of the finest shoegaze around. Opening with the wonderfully hazy 'Never, Ever!' It sets the pace and tone perfectly.

However, the band do seem to take issue with the lighting after the first track, unfortunately due to the venues skylights, there is little that can be done to create the darkened atmosphere. They plough on regardless their tempo barely wavering, the chugging beats combined with bright riffs.

It does seems to become somewhat monotonous however, there is little enthusiasm being exude from the stage, for some this may not be expected. It’s a very relaxed set from the band, these huge swirling, slowed down anthems please a hefty proportion of the crowd who can be seen nodding along amidst the increasing haze of the smoke coming from the stage.

The latter part of the set maintains the pace but offers a slight variant on the previous tracks, with 'Groove Is In The Heart' and 'Whatever Hippie Beach' lifting spirits ever so slightly. It is a consummate set from an exceptional band, and though they rarely deviate from a well-prescribed blueprint, it does have its merits.

Unfortunately, it lacks any real power; the tracks seemingly blending into one and the excitement never really transpires for most. In all though the extended set is what lets tonight down, with half the amount of time but perhaps a lack of some the embellishment it would have offered the enthusiasm that was lacking. However,  take nothing away from the Brian Jonestown Massacre, their expansive back catalogue is hugely impressive and tonight they truly show it off.


Tess Parks And Anton Newcombe - I Declare Nothing

  • Published in Albums

Sultry and ultra laidback albums of original material nodding firmly towards the likes of Serge Gainsbourg and the more blissed out end of the European Sixties film market don’t come better than this in the first half of 2015. Whilst the chap behind Nouvelle Vague is still pottering about doing cover versions in I Declare Nothing two artists with real talent have created the best kind of homage imaginable.

The work’s timelessness is one of its major selling points. Authenticity without slavish posturing and originality minus over-inflated egos, successfully combine to fully realise the aims of the collaborative project. Hearing these ten tracks unaware of what you were being played you’d be hard pressed to say what era actually spawned it.

Tess Parks’ stunning vocals weave a spell from beginning to end on the album, alternately beguiling and matter of factly freeing the listener as Anton Newcombe wraps the whole thing up in layers of lush psychedelic lounge and late-night clubland melancholia.

Self-produced & self-released by Newcombe on his A Recordings label, the benefits of having full artistic control over proceedings whilst work was progressing at his studio in Berlin over the past year or so are readily visible in the looseness achieved and the way the album flows together. Not a single track feels like it would have been better placed elsewhere in the running order.

The music buying public don't need constant re-hashes of the music of times and eras long since past but stylistically those sounds are as relevant as they've ever been, when expertly performed in up to the minute compositions as Parks & Newcombe have created here. Take the time to lose yourself in I Declare Nothing and see where it leads you. 

I Declare Nothing is available from amazon & iTunes.

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