May 14, 2010
For anyone unfamiliar with The Brian Jonestown Massacre here’s a brief synopsis: this experimental, psychedelic rock band from California formed in 1990, have released 11 albums, seven EPs and 15 singles, and have undergone more member changes than pretty much any other band has. They had a huge falling out with The Dandy Warhols, which has been documented in the film DiG!. What this film also reveals are the countless times the band had the opportunity to make it big with a major record label deal, but somehow screwed it up every time.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre started playing gigs to almost empty venues but tonight, the band’s sold out gig at Shepherd’s Bush Empire is so packed with people that it is impossible for the crowd to even lift their hands to applaud. There is, however, room for some serious moshing and crowd surfing. At one point, one lucky punter makes it onto the stage…only to be carried off by an angry security guard moments later.
One of the most exciting moments of the night is when Matt Hollywood walks on stage. After making a rather dramatic exit from the band, he has rrecently re-joined…and tonight’s crowd appears particularly pleased to see him.
Hollywood, and the seven other musicians on stage, play a two-hour-long set. We won’t bore you with any more of a recap of the setlist because ultimately, when BJM play live it feels more like an extra-long jam session than a bunch of separate songs.
Not necessarily known for having friendly banter with the crowd (in fact, frontman Anton Newcombe has had his fair share of fights with them), they don’t say much between the songs. And when they do, it’s pretty difficult to hear what they are saying over the crowd. Newcombe, also known for always speaking his mind, does rally in favour of saving BBC 6 Music, and encourages the crowd to show support for the station – which is met with a huge round of applause.
The Brian Jonestown Massacre are outstanding musicians and have produced some of the greatest sitar-infused modern music out there. Their songs translate perfectly to the stage and every single person leaving the venue tonight seemed to express similar sentiments – BJM killed it.