Review: The Jesus and Mary Chain, Waterfront, Norwich, a maelstrom of echo, distortion and a haze of dry ice

PUBLISHED: 11:42 20 September 2017 | UPDATED: 11:42 20 September 2017

The Jesus and Mary Chain. Photo: Submitted

The Jesus and Mary Chain. Photo: Submitted


The founding fathers of fuzz-pop return 30 years after the release of their seminal debut album Psychocandy, that mixed sneering angst and noise distortion with hypnotic sweet melodies layered with dark lyrics.

Old songs blended seamlessly with new as The Jesus and Mary Chain played an extensive set to a packed Waterfront.

It’s more than 30 years since the band’s landmark debut Psychocandy delivered sweet pop gems wrapped in finely sculpted layers of white noise. Today their distinctive, nuanced sound remains fresh and invigorating underpinning an impressive back catalogue.

Frontman Jim Reid’s silhouette offers a friendly greeting from the murky stage while his brother William remains in the shadows, wild mop of hair bowed as he cranks up his guitar for distortion drenched opener Amputation. The lead track from the latest album Damage and Joy gives way to 1987’s When it Rains with no hint of the 30-year gap.

Apart from one false start it’s a polished set taking in early classics like Some Candy Talking alongside new material and culminating in an extended version of 1992 hit single Reverence which engulfs the room in a maelstrom of echo and distortion. Everyone needs a breather after that, but the band soon return to belt out classics Just Like Honey and Cracking Up.

It is hard to tell the mood of the band through the permanent haze of dry ice filling the stage but they are clearly enjoying themselves as they bring things to a mighty and emphatic close with new song War on Peace.

But the house lights remain down as feedback reverberates around the room and when the band returns to the stage half the audience rushes back from the exit to be blasted once more with Sidewalking and I Hate Rock n Roll bringing the night to a thunderous conclusion.

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