The Jesus and Mary Chain at SXSW (w/video)

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After seeing Bruce Springsteen on Thursday, I went straight to The Belmont to see one of my all-time favorite bands, The Jesus and Mary Chain. I've always remembered seeing them on MTV when I was young. It was 120 Minutes or Alternative Nation

one of those. The video for "Head On" was a personal favorite (so much so that my band covered that song on one of our albums). A funny thing happened earlier that day. We saw a tweet from the Belmont saying that JAMC needed two Orange amps to use that night. My brother David owns one of those. He tweeted the Belmont back and let them know he was willing to help out. An hour later, he was on his way back home to pick it up and deliver it to The Belmont so they could use it that night. In return, he was given complete VIP status that evening.

I get to the venue and get in about a minute later. There's hardly any line. This place holds about 900 people. Once inside, we watch the Arkells for a bit before my wife tells me she is hungry. I tell her we can quickly go and grab something and come right back. I have a nagging feeling telling me this is not a good decision, but I don't pay attention. We come back to find a line for badges about 50 people deep. We get in line and wait, thinking this will start moving soon.Twenty  minutes later we find ourselves halfway there and that's as close as it gets. They inform us that the venue is at capacity and are letting one in when one comes out. We've been in line 45 minutes when the band starts playing "Snakedriver" from The Crow soundtrack and then go into my favorite song, "Head On."

At this point, we are both feeling some despair. People are upset that the line isn't moving, but everyone appears to be dancing in place to the music, including myself.

David has been texting me continually asking where we were. Realizing that we weren't going to get in, he uses his VIP status and asks the girl at the front of the line to let us in and she quickly complies. We rush up the stairs to the balcony and catch almost 45 minute of JAMC bliss. The band sounded amazing. Jim Reid's voice was in great shape. He kept shushing his brother, whose guitar kept feeding back while he was trying to talk. For 70 minutes, 900 people sang along to every song: "Sidewalking," "The Hardest Walk," "Just Like Honey," "Halfway to Crazy," "Happy When it Rains," etcetera. They pulled a lot of material from Automatic.

They ended the set with a blistering wall of feedback, their instruments still on when they walked offstage after playing "Reverence." The Belmont emptied out right after, most likely all thinking the same thing: The Jesus and Mary Chain still sound better than a lot of bands today. — Jaime Monzon


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