My Bloody Valentine – Live – A Reflection
Last time I witnessed Kevin Shields and the rest of his mythical beasts in the flesh I had difficulty hearing people for weeks afterwards. What a few years makes to my sense of bravado; having turned down ear plugs, almost with distain all those years back, this time I practically beg with the bouncer to not let me in without them. The precursor to the aforementioned March live dates, and a yet to be confirmed album (It's out in 2 or 3 days quips Shields during the evening), the Sunday night show in Brixton opened with a live airing of a 'new one' which sounded pretty bloody beautiful to these ears.
"Turn it up!" (possibly said with a touch of irony) is not the usual thing you expect to hear at a Valentines gig but there were definite sound issues that permeated throughout the evening.
I didn't write down the set list, why would you at a Valentines gig?(why would you need to anyway when there's setlist.fm, the internet eh?). They played everything I wanted to hear and it sounded better than it ever did on record, even with earplugs in. Well that's not strictly true. It sounded better without them in – I ventured out of the ear comfort zone a few times – but my ears would still be bleeding hand I witnessed them in all their splendour. Maybe that was my issue with the evening, I remember standing in the Roundhouse during the the 10 mins of feedback in You Made Me Realise thinking my head was going to explode. I didn't get that with the same instance at this gig. For some reason that whole piece felt a little underwhelming this time around. Was it just my expectations? No, in actual fact it was because I had to wear ear plugs to experience them this time around.
As a good friend and far better scribe commented to me as we left "Does it really matter if they make another record? It'll all sound the joyful same as what we've just witnessed"
And I guess that is the point – they're an experience, an installation – just best not witnessed with earplugs in.
Roll on the joyful noise in March.