The Jesus and Mary Chain, Black Ryder | Riviera Theatre | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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The Jesus & Mary Chain

The Jesus & Mary Chain

Courtesy the artist

When: Tue., May 5, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: sold out
Nobody new to the Jesus and Mary Chain is likely to understand why the UK group’s 1985 debut LP, Psychocandy, caused such a stir. Brothers Jim and William Reid, who’d founded the band in 1983, battered their Ramones-simple, Ronettes-catchy songs with shrieks of glass-cutting feedback and gusts of distortion that sizzle like water in a pan of hot grease (sometimes only the bass lets you know what key they’re in), and Jim’s languid, pillowy vocals floated through the storm with an unruffled calm that borders on disaffection. But Sleigh Bells’ 2010 debut, to pick a recent example, plays with similarly dramatic contrasts—melody and noise, innocence and violence—and if anything it’s even more over-the-top. The best way to explain Psychocandy’s influence is probably to say that, as with Rothko’s color-field paintings, it’s not so much that nobody else could’ve done this—it’s a question of first and best. This spring the Jesus and Mary Chain celebrate the album’s legacy with a 30th-anniversary tour where they’ll play the whole thing for the first time in the States. Jim now lives in Devon, William in Los Angeles (after William quit the band during an onstage fight in 1998, they didn’t speak for a year), and the other players on Psychocandy moved on decades ago. But the Reids are traveling with a full band, and may even be working on their first new record in almost two decades. It’s safe to expect more tonight than the explosively incoherent 15-minute messes that made them notorious in the mid-80s—and not just because Psychocandy is more than 40 minutes long. “Even when the album was out, it was about riots and falling over drunk,” Jim told the Guardian last fall. “It was about everything but the music. If you’re looking for skinny young kids in a strop, kicking their guitars, stay at home.” —Philip Montoro
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