Floorian, a five-piece from Columbus, Ohio, opened last night's show and sounded like a shoegaze band of old gone a little darker while cultivating a certain improvisational psychedelic flair. At times, the music reminded me a little of a tripped version of the Church, and at others it sounded something like Palace Springs-era Hawkwind with a little more Texas-style garage psych with less bombast.
Anton Newcombe was the first member of the Brian Jonestown Massacre to come on stage looking like Neil Young from three decades ago. The rest of the band followed soon after including, Matt Hollywood and Joel Gion -- who both got as many cheers from the crowd as Newcombe. Starting out strong with "Super-sonic," this version of the band seemed less chaotic than it might have been in the past, and the songs benefited from this display of control.
Reaching far into their back catalogue, Newcombe and company pulled out songs from every album through 2003's ...And This is Our Music but, curiously, nothing from its excellent latest record, Who Killed Sgt. Pepper? It hardly mattered as we were treated to a drawn out ending for "When Joker's Attack" in which the group offered a repetitive but tonally varied dynamic drone that recalled vintage Neu! -- an effect that creates the illusion of musical stasis but has the effect of stirring the imagination and spirit with its subtle ripple and cascade of sounds.
Throughout the show, drummer Dan Allaire proved that a band is only as good as its drummer. Fortunately for the BJM, Allaire was fully engaged from beginning to end with a brilliant display of prowess and versatility without ever showboating. Matt Hollywood took lead vocals on "Got My Eye On You," "Cabin Fever" and, of course, "Not If You Were the Last Dandy on Earth."
Surely some people in the audience were hoping for a tantrum at some point, but the band didn't seem too keen on high melodrama. Instead, it steered away from such theatrics and put in a solid performance of some of its finest material.
CRITIC'S NOTEBOOK Personal Bias: Brian Jonestown Massacre wrote some of my favorite music of the last two decades. Random Detail: Someone tried to give a cigarette to Joel Guion but he politely declined. You never know what's in what the general public will give you. By the Way: Trying to get on the stage at a show like this is a bad idea.