Live Reviews

The Brian Jonestown Massacre Live

Leeds Cockpit

Notoriety follows The Brian Jonestown Massacre as surely as night follows day and Muttley follows Dastardly. Or, specifically, said notoriety follows BJM front man Anton Newcombe. Frequently feted (usually by himself, truth be told) as musical genius and genuine messiah, Mr Newcombe and his ever shifting line-up of cohorts peddle an admittedly fine take on the evergreen, West Coast psychedelic power-pop thang. Yet despite this superb aural output, it’s his ‘personality-led’ incidents that have led to a recent increase in fame, most notably in the superb ‘Dig!‘ documentary DVD (sample line: “fucking broke my sitar, motherfucker.”)

So, before packed and buzzing punters at Leeds Cockpit, it’s something of a surprise to catch Anton in an entirely affable mood. Carrying an on-stage presence part Jason Pierce (standing sideways on to the audience) and part Sherlock Holmes (must be the deerstalker hat), Newcombe is in fine form, leading his band through over 90 minutes of fine, off-kilter retro-rock. Complimented by three guitars, a bowel-rumbling, earth-quaking bass and with the curiously irritating Joel Gion on tambourine / stupid sunglasses it’s one blissed-out blast of over-driven psychedelia after another.

Pausing only for the occasional glug on what appears to be a pint of orange juice and a seriously puzzling blast at a Yorkshire accent (“cheeky monkeys,” he states – yes, really!), the evening rapidly becomes a textbook illustration of the timeless power offered by vintage guitars and fine song writing. In short – a blast.

Steve Lee