Skip to main content

The Jesus and Mary Chain

Light on the Shore @ Leith Theatre
Four stars

Hidden Door’s contribution to Edinburgh International Festival’s Light on the Shore season saw the grassroots multi-arts festival show how pop culture works from the ground up. This was done with a triple bill of graduates from the sticky-floor circuit headlined by bona fide global pop stars, The Jesus and Mary Chain’s case.

Spinning Coin are a glorious amalgam of west coast guitar bands who, following recent shows at Leith Dockers Club and Leith Depot, are able to work a big stage a treat. As does the two-woman power-house that is Honeyblood, whose sugar-coated grunge married to Stina Tweedale’s street-smart vocals hangs as tough as you like.

For full-on mid-life brattiness, though, The Jesus and Mary Chain are rock and roll incarnate. With white light bathing the stage, the Reid brothers’ current five-piece line-up are these days the epitome of louche professionalism. Inbetween snaking himself around both microphone and stand, a black-clad Jim Reid even mumbles an apology for the sore throat apparently ailing him.

William Reid hunkers in the shadows, eking out brilliantly brittle shards of whip-wire guitar noise. From the opening Amputation to Far Out and Gone and the biker gang chug of All Things Must Pass, this zig-zags fuzzily across several decades’ worth of increasingly triumphal-sounding vignettes. It’s abrasive enough to almost hide the siblings’ sensitive side, but even the extended Stoogeisms of Reverence can’t disguise the fragile bubblegum yearning of student union anthems Some Candy Talking and Just Like Honey.

An incendiary volley of Cracking Up and In A Hole follows, with a tantric War on Peace sounding like a theme in waiting for a remake of Apocalypse Now. This isn’t quite the end, however, as the quintet ricochet into a final, devastating I Hate Rock and Roll. Which, of course, they really don’t.

The Herald, August 16th 2018



Popular posts from this blog

Clybourne Park

Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy Four Stars
It’s a case of whoops, there goes the neighbourhood twice over in Rapture Theatre’s revival of Bruce Norris’ Pulitzer Prize-winning play, which opens in 1959 in the same Chicago suburb where Lorraine Hansberry’s drama, A Raisin in the Sun, which appeared that year, is set. Here, Robin Kingsland’s Russ and his wife Bev, played by Jackie Morrison, are preparing to move out of their now almost empty des-res following a family tragedy.
Unknown to them, the bargain basement price tag has enabled a black family to move in, with Jack Lord’s uptight Karl a self-appointed spokesperson for the entire ‘hood. Russ and Bev’s black maid Francine (Adelaide Obeng) and her husband Albert (Vinta Morgan), meanwhile, bear witness to a barrage of everyday racism. Fast forward half a century, and a white family are trying to buy the same house, albeit with a heap of proposed changes which the black couple representing the block’s now much more diverse community aren’t…

Michael Rother - Sterntaler at 40

"There's so much to do," says an uncharacteristically flustered Michael Rother. The normally unflappably beatific German guitarist, composer and former member of Neu! and Harmonia, who also had a stint in a nascent Kraftwerk, is packing for live dates in Russia and the UK, including this weekend's show at the Queen Margaret Union in Glasgow.
"It has always been my choice to take care of these things myself and not have a manager," he says. "Somehow for me the independent aspect of doing things is really important, but it has its disadvantages."
As well as playing selections from Neu! and Harmonia, the trio he formed with Dieter Moebius and Hans Joachim Roedelius of Cluster, Rother's Glasgow date will see him play a fortieth anniversary rendering of his second solo album, Sterntaler, in full. Rother will be accompanied by guitarist Franz Bargmann and drummer Hans Lampe, the latter of whose musical involvement with Rother dates back to Neu! days, …

Kieran Hurley – Mouthpiece

Things have changed since Kieran Hurley first began writing the play that would become Mouthpiece, which opens at the Traverse Theatre in Edinburgh this weekend. At the time, Hurley was, in his own words, “quite new on the scene.” As a writer and performer, he had already scored hits with Beats and Chalk Farm, two pieces that put him on the map with a new generation of theatre-makers steeped in an equally new wave of grassroots opposition that drew from the iconography of revolutions past. Where Beats looked at the politicisation of 1990s club culture, Chalk Farm, co-written with AJ Taudevin, focused on a teenage boy caught up in the 2011 London riots.
More plays followed. Some, like Heads Up used the same solo story-telling aesthetic to look at an everyday apocalypse. More recently, Square Go, written with Gary McNair, dissected toxic masculinity through a school playground fight.
All the while as Hurley developed as a writer, from new kid on the block to established provocateur, this…