November 13, 2013

My Bloody Valentine played Hammerstein Ballroom

By now it's infamous. The grand finale of an epic My Bloody Valentine concert that ends in the elaborate, painful, noise "holocaust" where the band holds out a single not for what seems like an eternity. But, in the words of the Talking Heads, "my god, how did we get here?"

Emerging from the shadows, the shoegaze legends walked onstage to a back drop of swirling colors and dove straight into the classics. "Sometimes" kickstarted the evening on an almost light note, before the band began to build to the insanely high decibels which have made them notorious over the years. While their Roseland set of 2008 was one of the most mesmerizing experiences I've ever witnessed, tonight's show had some small hiccups yest was in no way less fantastic. They whipped through "When You Sleep" at a frightening speed and the mighty "Only Shallow" was too over powering for it's own good. Still, some of the tracks played tonight were the best they've ever sounded and made you understand that as perfect as their records are, this is a band meant for the stage. Their performance is a transfixing phenomenon. While long time fans were treated to an excellent assortment of Loveless tracks and even a few extra surprises like "Honey Power" (!) and "Cigarette in Your Bed", the new tracks from this year's sensational mbv were given new physicality that fit the band's illustrious catalogue like a glove. "To Here Knows When" and "Soon" were treated with ample strobes and surges of kaleidoscopic images that induced sensory overload to the max while "New You" blazzed with stunning precision. The buzz saw guitars of "Only Tomorrow" reached new levels of brilliance as they pierced through the crowd at deafening volumes and the helicopter effects of "Wonder 2" made for a mind altering experience. For a band that delivers such intensity, the members seem to step out of the spotlight and let the music speak for itself. Debbie Googe stood firmly planted (although watching her gauge away at her bass was gripping) and the blissful Bilinda Butcher cooed out her spellbinding vocals while solidifying her stance stage right. As the night progressed, the kinks seemed to be ironed out and the rest of the show was flawless. "Nothing Much to Lose" was dazzling and aggressive and produced one of the most sublime moments of the evening. And then it happened. Kevin took to the mic to say "thank you, this is our last show for a long time" and to anyone that has been a fan of My Bloody Valentine for a period of time, these words can sound terrifying. For years, many accepted the fact that this was a band of the past. One that was locked away and only to be remembered on record. Their reemergence to the scene in 2008 was more than most could've ever hoped for and with the release of their new record this year, it seems almost selfish to ask for anything more from these four pioneers. With nothing left but "You Made Me Realise", the crowd cheered with infinite joy as the most pulverizing and brutal experience in music erupted from the stage. To call it just a song doesn't give it the credit it deserves. This is a true physical experience that takes the song out of just the auditory realm and brings it to the physical one as well. The tremble of the floor and the shaking of your clothes are all a part of the act. Watching the crowd raise their hands to the heavens and let the adventure take over their entire body and mind is unlike anything else you're likely to undergo in a musical setting.  As it began to end and the jet engine like rumble slowly descended, it became very apparent that this could be a special moment. The last show on a tour in support of an album that was over twenty years in the making. How long will it be before this happens again? That part isn't as important. What important is that it happened and we were there.

01 Sometimes
02 I Only Said
03 When You Sleep
04 New You
05 You Never Should
06 Honey Power
07 Cigarette In Your Bed
08 Only Tomorrow
09 Come In Alone
10 Only Shallow
11 Thorn
12 Nothing Much To Lose
13 Who Sees You
14 To Here Knows When
15 Wonder 2
16 Soon
17 Feed Me With Your Kiss
18 You Made Me Realise

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