The Jesus & Mary Chain and the birth of Psychocandy

The Jesus and Mary Chain

As The Jesus & Mary Chain prepare to embark on the next leg of their 30th anniversary ‘Psychocandy’ tour, we take a look back at their most famous gigs before they released the legendary album.

The Ambulance Station – 23rd November 1984
Although it was The Three Johns gig that got them attention, their gig at The Ambulance Station moved things up another gear and was packed. Many in attendance were major label A&R men hoping the band would sign with them.

The Ambulance Station was essentially an old hippy squat that occasionally put gigs on. Tonight was only the second or third gig with Bobby Gillespie as their drummer, support came from Revolving Paint Dream and The June Brides and also in attendance were Emma Anderson (future Creation employee and member of Lush), Chris from Silverfish and Grant McLennan of The Go-Betweens.

As you can hear below, the gig ended with Jim Reid abusing the audience and shouting “Where were you six months ago?” Phil Wilson recalls in an interview with Dagger the night as being the most memorable gig he’s played. “It was just the most exciting concert to be at in the world that night. They had just started, but it was plain that something very big was going to happen with them – they were so exciting live.”

Listen to the gig below.

The Jesus & Mary Chain – Live at The Ambulance Station November 1984 by Creation on Mixcloud

Read more about the gig here

North London Polytechnic – March 15th 1985
Their next big gig was at North London Poly which ended in a riot causing untold damage. Jim Reid has his theory as to why the band were having such an impact. “People were waiting for something to react to. There was nothing around at the time, the early ’80s was probably the lowest point in musical history. People wanted a bit of nastiness, trashiness. We kind of knew what we were up to.”

Joe Foster recalls the night. “Chaos….and lunacy….North London Poly show, Dave out of Biff Bang Pow was doing front of house with me, I went back to check an amp during the show, Jim Reid was pulled off stage by some Rugby club yahoos for a kicking, I jumped into the melee like Iggy Pop and we escaped, only to be prevented from regaining the stage by “security”, who we had to fight too!… then it all went off and the building was trashed…”

Camden Electric Ballroom – 9th September 1985
The final night of the infamous riots just two months before the release of their debut album, at this stage people were going to the gigs purely to cause trouble. “That was the end of that period and it had stopped being funny,” bassist Douglas Hart told The Quietus. “[Band manager] Alan McGee had sorted out body guards for that gig but I remember that on the second date of that tour, one of them got knocked out with a scaffolding pole and he quit because he couldn’t handle the heaviness of it all. And I think he’d been ex-SAS and had been one of the guys who’d gone through the window at the Iranian embassy. He was like, ‘No amount of money can make me put up with this.’”
Watch the whole gig below.

The Jesus & Mary Chain will play the following dates:
Feb 16 – Liverpool Guild of Students
Feb 17 – O2 Academy Leeds
Feb 18 – O2 Academy Newcastle
Feb 21 – Norwich U.E.A.
Feb 22 – Rock City, Nottingham
Feb 23 – Brighton Dome
Feb 25 – The Institute, Birmingham
Feb 26 – O2 Academy Bristol
Feb 27 – The Great Hall – Cardiff Uni
May 1 – Canadian Music Week, Toronto, Ontario
May 3 – St. Andrew’s Hall, Detroit, MI
May 5 – Riviera, Chicago, IL
May 7 – Bomb Factory, Dallas, TX
May 9 – Levitation Festival, Austin, Texas
May 11 – Ogden Theatre, Denver, CO
May 13 – Vogue Theatre, Vancouver, British Columbia
May 14 – Showbox, Seattle, WA
May 16 – The Warfield, San Francisco, CA

Psychocandy Live