My Bloody Valentine
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- ICA, London »
- My Bloody Valentine »
It isn’t easy typing when you’re having to pick your jaw up off the keys every few minutes but such are the levels of agogness induced in the wake of this, My Bloody Valentine’s first show in sixteen years.
First off, I’d heard they were loud in their heyday but, Jesus Christ, we’re standing six feet from a speaker stack with brains sat on heads like ice cream scoops in a nuclear holocaust, blinking dumbly at a show so searingly molten you could cream the slag right off the top.
And the weirdest part is, with the exception of Debbie Googe’s crowd-shunning, legs-akimbo turn on bass, they’re all strumming at their instruments with the daydreamy listlessness of someone doing the dishes. Bilinda Butcher especially; she’s cute as a button with a coquettish smile playing round her lips, all the while acting like she hasn’t got the foggiest about the aural jackhammer she’s wielding over our rapt and terrified skulls.
But really, we should have known as much – Kevin Shields isn’t one to do things by halves, as Alan McGee’s accountant will no doubt attest, and tonight’s show had to be the studiedly supernova entrance it proves were it ever going to meet with the monomaniacal one’s approval. Hence, the 20-minute finale of ‘You Made Me Realise’ is every bit the heart-stopping shitstorm of noise it was reputed to be during the band’s 1991 Loveless tour.
Shields betrays little or no emotion at the magnitude of the event throughout - no new material, no prattle, just 90 minutes or so of brilliant, purging noise to snatch the seminal shoegazers’ legacy from the wilting nu-gaze dullards and lump it, sneering, into the palms of the noise rock pretenders. No Age, Fuck Buttons et al: the bar hasn’t so much been raised as wrenched clean off its crutches and brought unremittingly down on the soft-boiled skulls of the new guard.
And while their onstage demeanour bears a slight trace of first-night nerves, one song having to be restarted after they mess up the intro, the band provides every reason to hope new material will be magnificently up to snuff and might reinvent the wheel much in the same way Third did so effectively for Portishead earlier this year.
Pull those fingers out your ears, you’ll need 'em for crossing.
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