My Bloody Valentine – Live In Oz Tuesday 19 February, 2013
I was lucky enough to catch My Bloody Valentine at All Tomorrow’s Parties in Melbourne over the weekend, then again in Sydney last night. The rock gods have been kind. Can’t say my ears would agree, still suffering post trauma. But first, a word about ATP which proved to be one of the better festival experiences going around (and one of the more quirky).
The venue was a sports and recreation centre, the ATP banner flanked a giant sign saying ‘School Holiday Program’. Not your average setting. You could have a round of tennis, kick a giant soccer ball, disco out in the rock climbing area or watch ‘Pricasso’ who spent the day painting portraits with his cock (pic below). Plus there was a cinema area which looked like a wedding reception centre from the 80s. The ‘secret film’ turned out to be the first Harry Potter movie overdubbed by a guy telling the story of HP, Harmony and Ronny The Bear.
When My Bloody Valentine hit the indoor soccer court (main stage), the crowd had been softened up by Swans and Godspeed You! Black Emperor, so they didn’t sound that loud. False sense of security, it got plenty loud. If you’ve got UK tickets, pack your plugs! At the Sydney show they were complimentary, never come across that before.
So what can be said of the show? It takes a while to get over the fact that you are witnessing what you are witnessing. Once you do, it’s absolutely brilliant. The sound these guys create is amazing without the rockstar showmanship, banter or theatrics. I don’t think it’s unfair to say that MBV aren’t the world’s greatest musicians but they’re world class artists.
Colm and Debbie put themselves through a real workout. The drums and bass are consistently intense whereas the guitar and vocals (Kevin and Belinda) seemingly float over the top. It’s a stark contrast that directs your eye to the rhythm section because that’s where all the limbs are flailing. On a side note, Colm also appears to trigger the synth samples with a foot pedal.
Their earlier EP material was given the ‘MBV’ and ‘Loveless’ work over, a totally different perspective on classics like ‘Slow’ and ‘Feed Me With Your Kiss’. At times, the mystery and illusion of their recorded work is revealed. This is good and bad, to be honest I don’t want to be able to tell the difference between two guitar parts or how they got that elusive tone. It’s nice not to know how the magician pulled off that mind bending trick.
I had plenty of warning that the closer would be ‘You Made Me Realize’ and that it would be interspersed with thirteen minutes of near white noise at intense volume levels. I heard some women on the shuttle bus back call this a form of “radical music therapy” designed to re-align your organs or similar. Maybe. But I’m pretty sure its just a cool as sh**, rock n’ roll thing to do at the end of a show. Eitherway it’s an experience.
Y’know the kind of loud that hits you in the chest like a bass drum? Its like that and then some, this loud is like a jet engine taking off in your chest cavity, but it never leaves the runway, instead it just casually burns a slow motion hole in your belly. So yeah, not for everyone but bliss for some!
And lastly, for all of you audio nerds out there… here’s a snap of Kevin Shields pedal board from the Enmore Theatre show…
My Bloody Valentine – Live @ ATP / Sydney (Feb 16/18) Setlist…
I Only Said
When You Sleep
You Never Should
Cigarette in Your Bed
Come in Alone
Nothing Much to Lose
To Here Knows When
Feed Me With Your Kiss
You Made Me Realise