Sunday, January 3, 2010


Monday, September 01, 2008
Hi-Fi Bar

Sunday night was always going to be the less whelming of the two BJM gigs. Many who came to the Saturday show (an official CD of which can be bought at the busy merch desk) are back for more, and excitement can’t help but build throughout the night.

The Black Ryder; three girls, three guys, three guitars, three chords. These ingredients are rendered surprisingly well, the band seem like they’ve been playing together for a long time despite having only two main members. Even with a lack of vocal presence, the Ryder’s way with carefully building a Spiritualized-style epic from some echoed guitar and floor-tom thumps is a formidable thing. Penultimate song Burn and Fade is a near-masterpiece, while the keyboardist cleaning the blood off the guitarist’s fingers as mainstays Amee Nash and Scott von Ryper play the very Nancy and Lee Sweet Come Down is a high point.

While being from Sydney ensures the guitars The Black Ryder play are classy, a real array of guitar pornography precedes the arrival of BJM; Voxes, Gretchs, Gibsons all vintage and immaculate and never asked to do anything beyond some barre chords and simple lead lines. Half an hour after the advertised time, guitarist Ricky Maymi strides onto the stage to begin a series of drones that characterise this new-model BJM who’s motto seems to be; ‘we’re here to make music, this ain’t no freak show’. The band slowly join him and kick into gear soon enough; 7-strong and clearly not about to act like the shoegaze band that their new album has seen them accused of being. With music this simple and derivative, it’s the personality and energy invested in the music that separates the insipid from the incendiary, and it’s a fine line the Jonestown boys walk. Anton Newcombe, almost imperceptible so far stage left is he, is clearly not going to be repeating the antics of their last visit, despite the continuous stream of heckling the band receive from two much-loathed fans in the front row. Joel Gion works the cigarette as hard as the tambourine while guitarist Frankie Teardrop and bassist Collin Hegna keep the vibes flowing smooth and strong, though it’s the chain-smoking Maymi who seems the most relaxed and in control and who finds himself on the end of most heckles. A cameo vocal appearance by Amee Nash from The Black Ryder sits beautifully in the set.

Despite the hangover-slack pace of the evening and that many songs are rendered almost indistinguishable by the same chords being played on the same guitars with the same effects over similarly paced beats with inaudible vocals, there are clear highlights. Who? gets the crowd the most noisy, Yeah, Yeah, and Golden Frost go down well, as does Feel So Good and seeing how long Maymi can leave between cigarettes is fun game to play. A lengthy bass-amp malfunction sees some entertaining banter ensue, but the band doesn’t really seem bothered trying to recover the formidable groove they sometimes manage to hit almost incidentally at later stages it seems. BJM have always been about attitude and though tonight comes across as more Ron Wood than Brian Jones, the crowd dig it all the same (though are more vocal about shouting down the hecklers) and the legend remains intact Nevertheless.

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