Monday, October 20, 2008

Interlude: MBV

During “You Made Me Realise,” the last song of My Bloody Valentine’s second show at New York’s Roseland Ballroom, the venue grew eerily quiet. In actuality, the band was creating punishing waves of feedback, but with earplugs stuffed in firmly, it felt like the eye of a storm. The atmosphere was foreign to a rock concert. Instead of exultation, there was serene anticipation.

Fans of the Irish quartet are used to waiting. My Bloody Valentine’s watershed 1991 release, Loveless, smeared glorious dream pop with a distorted haze of guitars and soporific vocals from singers Kevin Shields and Bilinda Butcher. The band has not released an album since, but Loveless has become the primogenitor for shoegaze, a term that originates from the abundance of foot-operated effects pedals. (Shields reportedly used 30 pedals on this tour.) They had not played in the United States for 16 years.

The setlist contained songs from Loveless and the band’s 1988 debut, Isn’t Anything, which the band delivered like a hurricane. Shields and Butcher’s breathy vocals were barely audible under the blast of guitars and blistering percussion. The band almost disappeared under the lighting, which flooded the stage. Shields would give a quiet “thank you” to the crowd in the middle of the set, but his presence was ethereal: the songs spoke for themselves.

From the overcharged “Only Shallow” to the acid-tinged cascades of “Soon,” the performance was an affirmation of how well My Bloody Valentine has stood the test of time. Loveless took over two years to craft, bankrupting the band’s label, Creation, in the process. But its influence has only grown in the nearly two decades since its release. Shields has said that the band will attempt to record a third album this fall, but no matter what they produce in the future, their legacy is cemented.

The calm of “You Made Me Realise” was broken by a final squall of feedback, followed by a bassline so massive that a tremor devoured the packed stage floor, leaving feet reverberating. Leaving a residue of feedback, like the afterglow of a dying sun, the band departed, fading away as fleetingly as they arrived.

Here's the band at the Roxy Theater in Los Angeles on February 4th, 2002, the last time they were in the States. However, if you're new to MBV, I strongly sugest starting with Loveless, which kicks off like this. Enjoy.

1. Intro
2. When You Sleep
3. Only Shallow
4. I Only Said
5. Slow
6. Nothing Much to Lose
7. You Never Should
8. Blown A Wish
9. Honey Power
10. Soon
11. To Here Knows When
12. Feed Me With Your Kiss
13. You Made Me Realise

MySpace: My Bloody Valentine
Official Site: My Bloody Valentine


meanderingway said...

Lovely photos! I was able to catch the first night of the two-night stand at Roseland last month. It was a beautiful show, a Top 5 show for me for sure. "You Made Me Realise" was everything I'd hoped for and more from 17 minutes of punishing noise.

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