Wednesday, April 22, 2009

My Bloody Valentine @ Austin Music Hall, 04.21.09

Statistics about last night’s show:

15 people were taken away sick having experienced vertigo.
12 people suffered seizures induced by flashing lights.
32 people suffered permanent hearing loss.
2 people had their heads actually explode.

Ok… I made all that up. Though I’m pretty sure there were some people that may have experienced a little hearing damage. But it had to be expected for those who tried to tough it through without earplugs.

My Bloody Valentine made Austin Music Hall a stop on their only five show long tour of the U.S. Yes the one and only My Bloody Valentine, who in 1991 released the album that changed music as we know it. Simply put, Loveless is a masterpiece. It’s the most beautiful hour of noise that has ever been created. The impact is immeasurable and has made My Bloody Valentine legends. Adding to the fairytale behind Loveless is the lack of a follow-up album. It pretty much was popular consensus that My Bloody Valentine was finished and they would never play together again. Fast forward 17-years later for the band’s reunion in 2008 and the promise of new material.

This is what brought us up to last night [04.21.09]. Austin Music Hall was the scene for an earsplitting, eye-popping performance that should go down as legendary. The crowd consisted of fans both young and old, proving the band’s timeless appeal. With only two full-length albums (the debut Isn’t Anything is only a notch below Loveless on the importance meter), it’s proof of a remarkable accomplishment when a band can still pull a large crowd as eager as the one on hand after 17-years of being out of the spotlight. Earplugs were everyone’s friend, as I’ve never seen so many speakers and amps on stage with any band. I also spotted several people who threw on sunglasses to shield their eyes from the pulsating light show.

My Bloody Valentine showed Austin why their distinctive style came to be known as shoegaze. Shields and co-vocalist/guitarist Bilinda Butcher hardly even acknowledged each other from across the stage as the two were too busy churning that mystical sound from their guitars. With heads down, the two along with bassist Debbie Googe barley moved from their positions as they wrenched out perfect noise. Colm O'Ciosoig was the most animated of the band from behind the drum kit, as he added to the sonic assault.

Hitting all the high points of Loveless, the show culminated in a 15+ minute all out attack of sound that could have passed for a jet plane taking off or the Cloverfield monster. The bass reverberation could be felt down to your bones and gave me goosebumps.

Will there ever be another album? Truthfully, it doesn't matter. My Bloody Valentine has already earned a spot in rock 'n roll history. Loveless is a staple in the lives of many musicians, music aficionados, critics, and fans. And it's popularity has only grown throughout the years since 1991. I doubt I will ever get another chance to see this band again. Which makes last nights performance all the more special.


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