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Led by guitar visionary Kevin Shields, the band stood almost motionless, with the only hint of any movementfrom these almost Kraftwerkesque figures, that were the source of the noise howling from the speakersthe movements of its members' hands. Shields took his instrument of choice on a journey that very few other guitarists could manage, through sounds that were so acerbic and so blindingly violent, that the band's creations looked like patterns of notes falling apart like buildings collapsing mid-earthquakea destruction presented as a beauty unparalleled. Underneath those abrasive and high volume textures were fine details in the form of stealth melodies that suggested there was much more hiding within the fabric. Amidst the hypnotic guitar explorations, behind the electrical-storm dissonance provided by the band's intriguing rhythm section (consisting of bassist Debbie Googe and drummer Colm Ó Cíosóig), guitarist Bilinda Butcher sometimes added her dreamy vocals, where her ethereal tone and those hidden details somehow revealed a more feminine side to this music.
Naturally, the number of people in attendance grew thin as the evening went on, leaving about half an audience of brave people, as they were showered with buckets of delicate noise. At punishingly high volume, My Bloody Valentine's rough, brutal, but nevertheless beautiful sound sculptures were like exploratory jams, resulting in taut, densely packed music in the form of tracks such as "Only Shallow," "Thorn," "Nothing Much to Lose" and the brilliant, hammering "Soon" that continuously demolished rock music's accepted conventions. The whole show ended with the long and extreme amount of eardrum- piercing white noise of "You Made Me Realise."
My Bloody Valentine is a band that really has to be experienced live. Though its records are great, they cannot really capture the band's raw energy. It was a brilliant performance that made the ears hurt, but in a good way.
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me
I grew up listening to mainstream '70s rock then ended up on the staff at the college paper at San Diego State, and volunteered to review heavy metal LPs. My second semester, the music editor dropped a Fenton Robinson LP on my desk, Night Flight. You like metal; they play guitar--he plays guitar, the editor told me. If we don't run a review, Alligator Records is going to stop servicing us.
Night Flight opened up a whole new world for me--the blues led me, inevitably, to Basie, who led to Duke, who led to Mingus, who led to Miles, who led to ...