I’d been a bit reluctant to head out and see the Mary Chain. Bad experiences with other heroes from the 80s stumbling on unnecessarily with nothing new to offer (and nothing much old either) had put me off. But when Damage and Joy came out, wiser and more trustworthy folk attested to its quality, so I picked it up. It turned out to be an absolute hoot, knowing and unashamed rock ‘n roll enjoyment – at once self-mythologising and self-parodying.
So, safe in the knowledge that a ‘here’s one from our latest record’ wouldn’t chill the spine, off to the Foundry it was. A venue that is buried unmarked in the student union – I lost count of the number of old gimmers who had clearly been wandering for ages and were delighted to see a fellow greyhair who actually knew where they were going. Surprisingly though, once inside we aged weren’t in too big a majority. Presumably some sort of Lost in Translation effect has drawn a fair smattering of relative youths to the band. Or perhaps they just like a bit of decent music.
Backlit and dry-iced the band confidently walk the fine line between celebrating and undermining rock ‘n roll cliche. And for all William Reid’s impassivity in front of his Jesus Fuck backline, they seem to be enjoying themselves. There’s not so much feedback for the oldies (though a rollicking In A Hole and Sidewalking do squawk to good effect) – what they offer is deliberately simple-but-terrific rock melodies and slightly daft-but-cool touchstone lyrics. There’s plenty of recent stuff and it goes down just as well as the, erm, classics. Thre’s really not that much more to say. They might ladle on a fair amount of irony but in the end, with both Motorhead and the Ramones…well…killed by death, the Mary Chain are probably the best dumb rock ‘n roll fun you can have on a night out. Bring it on again.