SAN FRANCISCO — With songs of angst, love, damage and joy, The Jesus and Mary Chain kicked off its North American tour by giving San Francisco a night of pure energy. The Scottish band, led by brothers Jim and William Reid, put on a performance at The Fillmore on Thursday as emotive and in sync as ever.
The band members (the band has had several lineup changes since the ’80s) stood spread out, leaving plenty of room for Jim Reid to take command of the center space. He moved along to each song’s energy, bringing the ultrasonic edge of tunes like opener “Amputation” to life. “I’m a rock and roll amputation,” he sang, twisting and traipsing across the floor.
Stage banter was minimal, but that didn’t seem to hinder the audience’s connection to the band. Constant cheers, whistles, and applause echoed throughout the venue. They were heard during the start of fan favorites “Darklands” and “Happy When It Rains” to the quiet moments between songs. “Reverence” closed the main set. Charged and self-defeating, the song really catches attention with a hook with the repeated chant: “I wanna die.”
For the encore, the group broke into “Just Like Honey,” the track that famously scored the enigmatic end to Sofia Coppola’s film, Lost in Translation. The simple drumbeats that lead into the saccharine love song immediately incited woos from the crowd. Hazy, golden lights illuminated the band, casting the dreamiest glow. And just when it seemed like the night couldn’t have finished any stronger, The Jesus and Mary Chain went into a second encore that finished with “I Hate Rock and Roll.”
Cold Cave, the stage name of Los Angeles musician Wesley Eisold, opened the show. Backed by a live band, the darkwave artist initially took on a broody, ambient sound, but later mixed in upbeat ‘80s-inspired grooves. The balance of post-punk grit and synthpop etherealness hooked the crowd, with many heads nodding along.