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By: Will Lamborn

Someone was having a little too much fun with the fog machine.  Though it was Halloween and all, ripe for creating an intimate atmosphere for Jesus and Mary Chain within the expansive confines of Club Ciudad Buenos Aires, itself an unusual hodgepodge venue of wide-open spaces, scattered sports facilities, and picturesque tree-lined brooks, for a weekend the home of Personal Fest 08.

Emanating from the smoke-soaked stage, J&MC’s sound was full and polished, rounded out by a second guitarist and impeccably mixed by the sound crew.  Guitars shimmered, appropriately heavy yet lithely wafting over the sprawling crowd, and Jim Reid’s vocals sounded fantastic whether cutting through the high-register chorus of “Head On” or ratcheting up the intensity while pleading “I wanna die!” on set closer “Reverence.”  The overall performance was restrained, in keeping with the melancholic tranquility their particular brand of distortion pop evokes.  Nonetheless, preceded by a relentlessly energetic !!! romp and followed by a stunning Spiritualized, J&MC came across as less immediately engaging.

And though I personally would have liked to hear more of Psychocandy, I shouldn’t quibble too much; as it was, they played excellent renditions of “Some Candy Talking” and “Just Like Honey,” and pulled from all over their catalogue. “Almost Gold,” “Happy When It Rains” and “Sidewalking” particularly stood out.

There was one hiccup, a mid-set false start that required a take 2 and then a take 3 to get the guitar and drums on the same page.  In the end, however, it really only had the effect of icon-humanization, drawing smiles from the crowd and no visible frustration by the band.

Earlier in the afternoon, lead singer Wallas of the Argentine group Massacre insistently repeated (in Spanish), “I can’t believe we’re sharing the same stage with Jesus and Mary Chain, carajo!” It was a humorous but clearly sincere gesture from the clownish frontman, a due acknowledgment of a group whose musical influence since their 1985 debut has been enormous.  On Friday, their 55-minutes were over all too soon as dusk slowly descended alongside the occasional airplane approaching a nearby regional airport.



All opinions expressed by Will Lamborn are solely his own and do not reflect the opinions of Stay Thirsty Media, Inc.

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