Live Review: The Brian Jonestown Massacre and The Raveonettes – Metro Theatre (17.05.2012)

The somewhat androgynous and Sonic Youth-esque Ravonettes played a set that showcased all of their albums and diversity. Ranging between melancholy at the start and rocking at the end, they were successful in getting everyone’s attention.

They continued to thank us for watching and commented on how much they love being in Sydney, before playing their last song. The long guitar solo and heavy bass in their last song created an atmosphere just right for headliners.

All eight members of The Brian Jonestown Massacre shuffled out on stage and arranged themselves behind their instruments, some take more time than others. Joel Gion picks up a tambourine and stands in front of a microphone while Matt Hollywood and Anton Newcombe take a few minutes to set up their guitars.

They kick off with ‘Stairway To The Best Party In The Universe’ from new album Aufheben and then move quickly into older song ‘Vacuum Boots’. They don’t leave much room between songs for stage banter except for a few quick thank yous.

The whole room smells of weed but it’s unclear if it’s coming from the stage or the crowd before a security guard spots someone with a joint in the first few rows, takes it off them and throws it on the ground. The same security guard is on his game later when he tackles a girl who jumped over the barrier before she reaches the stage.

A crowd member requests a song and Anton replies: “I’m 44 years old, I don’t take requests! Go to Hungry Jacks or something. Do you do everything Tony Abbott tells you to do?” Old songs ‘Anenome’, ‘This is Why You Love Me’ and ‘Super-Sonic’ unsurprisingly get the best reception from the crowd, but then ‘Not If You Were The Last Dandy On Earth’ and the rare ‘Open Heart Surgery’ raise the reactions.

The last songs in the set sound perfect, every instrument is balanced, everyone can be heard and the feedback has stopped. Hollywood and Newcombe jam together and Gion mills around hitting his tambourine and shaking maracas.

The highlight comes when Hollywood takes over on lead vocals to sing ‘Oh Lord’ and gets everyone moving. Though everyone on stage is talented and capable, it’s Newcombe that makes everything happen. No one plays a note until he gives the signal.

They finish with an extended version of Boardwalk Empire theme song ‘Straight Up and Down’ with a sample of The Rolling Stones’ song ‘Sympathy For The Devil’ and keep the stage in complete darkness with guitars resonating while they walk off.

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Justine McNamara

I'm an Australian living in New York. I work in marketing but I write about music, New York, and my own personal experiences.

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