It used to be that you could only read about some legendary concert, but sometimes there was a video camera present and actual records, not just memories, of these shows are starting to surface. Witness The Jesus and Mary Chain’s infamous Sept. 9, 1985 performance at Electric Ballroom in Camden Town, London. The group played six songs for twenty minutes and then fucked off, prompting the audience to destroy their equipment and rip down a lighting rig.
I saw the Jesus and Mary Chain both before and after this show. When I saw them in London, they were an uneasy combination of crap and brilliance, whereas by the time I saw them at what I believe was their first American show, at The World discotheque on 2nd Street in NYC, their stage show had become something like… Godzilla destoying a city. For the show at The World, they had the biggest, brightest, whitest flash pods aimed directly at the audience’s retinas and no other lighting source. It was as loud as fuck and they simply destroyed the place. Maybe it was the LSD I’d taken, but they seemed to have improved quite a lot in those months since I’d first seen them perform and I left a convert.
You can watch the full pre-Psychocandy set: “Just Out of Reach,” “Inside Me,” “In a Hole,” “You Trip Me Up,” “The Living End” and “Crack’d” on Slicing Up Eyeballs, but the quality is basically shit. Better to go directly to the sixth clip to see a bit of the crowd rioting at the end.