The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Sonic Rhythms Captivate Chicago

Photos and review by Steve Sym

The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Date: September 29, 2023
Venue: The Vic Theatre

The Brian Jonestown Massacre show at The Vic Theatre on September 29, can only be described as a mesmeric performance. From the moment the lights dimmed, the stage bathed in red light for most of the evening, and the band took the stage in their subtly way, the laid-back atmosphere of a Brian Jonestown Massacre show was set for the evening.

Once each member picked up their instruments, they had the crowd locked in as they opened with #1 Lucky Kitty. Brian Jonestown Massacre’s hypnotic wall of sound dominated the night. Once into any jam, the band felt like a unified machine, churning out melodic, sonic riffs and whirling rhythms.

Longer than normal breaks between songs to switch or tune instruments, are all part of the relaxed BJM live experience and the true focus of the band on the perfection of the performance.

For nearly two hours, The Brian Jonestown Massacre rolled through eighteen tunes, from their illustrious 30-year career. The songs were dense and filled with jangly guitar tones and solos from the band leader, Anton Newcombe, who has a unique and inherent spacing between notes.

Highlights included ‘Fudge,’ which had the audience gently swaying to its hazy patterns. ‘Your Mind is My Cafe’ was another standout moment, with its up-tempo rhythm perfectly accompanied by Joel Gion shaking his tambourine. The band ensured that fans could walk away having heard iconic Brian Jonestown Massacre tracks including “Forgotten Graves,” ‘Anemone’, ‘Servo’ and “Nevertheless”. The show ender ‘Maybe Make it Right’ ended in a guitar feedback array and saw singer Antwone Newcombe take over on drums to play out the sonic jam.

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