The Jesus and Mary Chain, Chvrches, Prides and Slowfest: A guide to Scottish musicians on tour this autumn
This article is from 2014.
Colin Robertson pays homage to some fine local heroes
The Jesus and Mary Chain
In anticipation of the 30th anniversary of their iconic debut album Psychocandy, the Jesus and Mary Chain will be playing the record from start to finish at Barrowlands. One of Scotland’s most beloved bands, the Mary Chain burst out of the rather humdrum surroundings of East Kilbride in the early 80s, with their brand of bubblegum pop surfing a feedback-drenched wave of doom and gloom which was ahead of its time, to say the least.
The shows around the record’s initial release in 1985 were raucous affairs, with the band often smashing up equipment after their set; many promoters cancelled their gigs as they weren’t prepared to risk a full-scale riot. Frontman Jim Reid says that the record ‘was meant to be a kick in the teeth to all of those who stood in our way at the time, which was practically the whole music industry’, and Psychocandy is now considered a landmark recording, with its fingerprints being all over the slew of lo-fi and noise pop bands that have sprung up in recent years.
At the heart of the group is the volatile relationship between the Reid Brothers, William and Jim, charted in detail by Zoë Howe in her recently-released and rather excellent biography, Barbed Wire Kisses. Typically enough for the Mary Chain, only one brother made a contribution to her book.
Speaking to The List earlier this year about the band’s sporadic reunion shows, the author said: ‘The last words of my book, finished long before the news of the Psychocandy shows had been announced, are (former bassist and founding member) Douglas Hart’s. He observes that while the Mary Chain lived through years of relative obscurity, “things come back round, don’t they?” And haven’t they just?’
Barrowland, Glasgow, Fri 21, Sun 23 Nov.
It’s fair to say that 2014 has been a busy year for Chvrches, one crammed festival appearances and gigs around the world. The Glasgow-based three-piece return home as part of a mini-tour before they head back into the studio to pen the follow-up to 2013’s The Bones of What You Believe at the end of the year.
Barrowland, Glasgow, Mon 3 & Tue 4 Nov. Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, Wed 5 Nov.
Part of Glasgow’s nascent synth-pop scene, Prides make anthemic jams that are unabashedly grand in scope. Despite forming just last year, and having released only an EP and a single, the band (who, appropriately enough, have been known to cover Katy Perry’s ‘Roar’) have garnered an insane amount of hype, thanks in no small part to their great live shows.
Arches, Glasgow, Sat 6 Dec.
Slowfest’s mission statement is to put a spotlight on the best contemporary Scottish bands and artists around and give them the opportunity to play stripped-back gigs in an intimate environment. This year’s line-up has yet to be finalised, but with previous years featuring indie darlings such as Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad and Honeyblood, it’s safe to say that the promoters will have something hot up their sleeve.
Bar Bloc, Glasgow, Mon 15–Tue 17 Dec.