Yesterday the Facebook page for Band of Susans coughed up some remarkable footage from more than two decades ago. It’s a video lasting an hour and 24 minutes of Band of Susans and My Bloody Valentine playing the 9:30 Club in Washington, D.C., on June 6, 1989.
It’s scarcely an overstatement to say that before yesterday, next to nobody was even aware that this footage existed. The setlist.fm chronologies for Band of Susans and for MBV (as of today) didn’t list the show at all.
The footage was shot by a fan named Chris Metzler. In the summer of 1989 Band of Susans was supporting their second album Love Agenda, which had come out in April. The well-regarded The Word and the Flesh would come out two years later. For their part, MBV had recently jumped from Lazy Records to Creation Records, having released Isn’t Anything and the “You Made Me Realise” 12-inch in 1988. Their crossover breakthrough of Loveless wouldn’t arrive until 1991.
Here’s the comment the band left when the video was posted:
Shot from the floor by the indefatigable Chris Metzler. Overloaded camera mic. (Distortion IS truth.) There may be a future version of this with better audio and possibly some different camera angles. My Bloody Valentine opened for Band Of Susans about a month later at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. One of our all time favorite shows.
The sound is pretty raw—the vocals in particular are almost never audible in any proper way—but the thrash and clangor of the guitar and drums always rings through quite effectively, and of course you can see them playing quite well. The image of Susan Stenger singing lead vocals while wielding an especially large bass guitar dominates the first half of the video.
As they say, “Distortion IS truth.” We await that “future version ... with better audio” but until then, we’ll be happy with this.
Watch the video, after the jump…