Review: Brian Jonestown Massacre @ Turner Hall Ballroom

Photo by CJ Foeckler

Photo by CJ Foeckler


Words by TJ Fackelman

Looking like some kind of hippie-denim-army, the Brian Jonestown Massacre took the stage, trying to look as cool as possible, with little more than a nod or a wave from the mutton-chopped Joel Gion. Anton Newcombe took his usual place at the far left, his perch where he would observe his band mates over the course of the next several hours.

To the disappointment of some in the audience who had bought tickets to see Anton punch someone in the face or get in a fight with his band, the show was rather uneventful; however, the music was spot-on and almost never-ending. Blending the psychedelic guitar play of ’60’s rockers like Roky Erikson with the distortion-heavy sonic layers of My Bloody Valentine, BJM’s jams routinely extended beyond the 8-10 minute mark. The band could possibly be called out for sounding too similar song after song, but when it sounds this good, who’s complaining?

A few of the things that were on Anton’s mind Friday night (keep in mind his mumbling is not always the easiest to understand):

– Something about recording 5 albums of “disco dance” music in Iceland with a big bass bent

– A story about being out with some friends looking for some drugs to take

– “Joel is not a wind-up toy, he’s intense and brooding.”

– An apology for or maybe criticism of a poorly promoted BJM show in Milwaukee in ’95 or ’97.

Openers the Flavor Crystals began the evening with some feedback fueled spaced out rock jams thanks to a phalanx of four guitarists. The Flavor Crystals seems to be a bit of a misnomer for this band. Rather than smacking you in the face with a blast of freshness, they lay down a stick of fuzzed out psych-pop bubblegum that lasts.

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