The Upshot: Live at the Paradise Rock Club, in all Anton Newcombe’s deranged psychedelic glory. Above: “This tambourine ain’t gonna play itself ya know.”
TEXT & PHOTOS BY JOHN BOYDSTON
For someone who was all dressed up and ready to go to Levitation in Austin a couple of weeks ago (where BJM was scheduled to play) only to find out it was canceled because of weather, catching this show in Boston a week or so later was pretty cool. (Note to self – don’t count your psychedelic chickens before they are hatched for an outdoor festival — Levitation — held on a flood plain, next to a river bank in Texas during that state’s traditionally rainiest and stormiest month of the year.)
BJM’s show at Boston’s Paradise Rock Club was of course sold out, and I’m told tickets went quickly. It’s an intimate setting this club. Way too crowded to get many close-ups but with this band I didn’t care – it’s the whole band in action I find so captivating and visual anyway. And there are two levels at the club so you can work the angles. Couldn’t stay for the whole show but heard it was close to 3-hours long, these gazer-fans in the crowd got their money’s worth. My second trip to this venue. I enjoy it, and I guess everyone does (except maybe the nervous guy next to me who kept telling anyone who’d listen where the fire exits were, which was annoying but I was glad to know actually.)
Band-founder Anton Newcombe seemed in good spirits – talked a lot to the crowd. And the band was in fantastic form, which I think they usually are. The world’s best tambourine player Joel Gion was showing us how it’s done. BJM’s current lineup is: Anton – guitar & vocals, Colin Henna – bass, Rob Campanella – keys (including what I think is an amazing sounding and very cool new digital Mellotron that I saw him demo at Levitation in the gear tent in 2015), Rick Maymi – guitar (far right), Ryan Van Kriedt, Daniel Allaire, and Joel G. On tour now through the summer at least. Visit http://thebrianjonestownmassacre.com/tour/ for dates, and make it happen.
Formed in 1990 in San Francisco, BJM has been making the world safe (mostly) for all things psychedelic and groovy ever since. May it ever be so. I’m not sure there has been a more influential band that does what they do – many imitators have followed, and that’s OK with me. You gotta set your sights on someone, and I’m happy with any band that aspires to be Brian Jonestown Massacre. Just try very hard is all I ask, start with a rock-solid drummer like theirs, don’t forget the hooks, and stay weird.