Known for its dark and foreboding music, the Jesus & Mary Chain arrived Saturday at a hall just as gloomy, and the match was perfect.
The band, misplaced and consequently lost during the daylight portion of this summer’s Lollapalooza ’92 festival, rebounded from that setback in front of a packed house as headliners to the “Rollercoaster Tour,” a collection of alternative guitar bands now touring theater-sized indoor venues. Led by vocalist Jim Reid and guitarist brother William, Jesus & Mary Chain displayed the atmospheric edge and engaging performance that fans of these cult faves have come to expect.
The Def American recording artists started cautiously, seeming to feel out the venue and crowd.
The U2-ish “Catchfire,” a droning bit of soundscape from the current “Honey’s Dead” album, opened the 70-minute set and was ill-suited to the sound limits.
But the Chain overcame that initial problem and grew more confident as the show went on. The catchy “Far Gone and Out,””Sugar Ray” and “Head On” from the album “Automatic” were some of the evening’s best songs, while encore “Reverence” ended the show on a positive note, although the live version sounded like a remix of the recorded track.
The evening’s support bands were variations of the headliner, though none came close to the effectiveness of top-billed act.
RCA’s Spiritualized and Def American’s Medicine were both disappointing, Despite impressive new albums, neither group made much of a connection with the audience.