The 2004 documentary Dig! appears to have played equal parts help to hindrance in the land of the Brian Jonestown Massacre. Help, in that it appears to have helped their music reach the ears of a greater number of people. Hindrance in that, as reported by the band, it’s often typecast them as dandy-warhol-hating-drug-taking-unreliable-cartoon characters.
Both facets obviously helped the band to sell out the Newcastle Riverside and build an incredible atmosphere from the audience, but it also appeared to draw large elements of the crowd eager to treat the band as reality tv performers rather than the collective musical greats they are.
Whilst the band ploughed through an incredibly atmospheric and intense 2 hours of performance, it led to almost every gap between songs being filled with screams for chief creator Anton Newcombe and (surely a contender for greatest ever) vibesman Joel Gion. Joel, in particular, seeming bemused and humbled by the attention. For them both, as well as the rest of the band, it seemed to all be about the music.
And thank god.
For what a treat this turned out to be.
Seldom have a band had as many top-draw songs as the BJTM. And seldom has a band played with as much intensity, craftsmanship and raw passion as the BJTM. Put aside any talk of the BJTM being a patchy live outing; they are almost unbeatable. They offer their view of the world and they offer it whole, full and accessible to all. Every song provokes a strong emotion, every song is a straight line to their heart, every song is brilliant.
The BJTM are a dying breed of musicians; it’s all about the music and not the attention.