Pages Navigation Menu

Review: Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Blue Angel Lounge

brian jonestown massacre live in phoenix, BJM live in phoenix, BJM show review, Brian jonestown massacre show review

All photos by Alexis Getscher

Anton Newcombe founded Brian Jonestown Massacre more than 20 years ago. He’s a musician. And though years in the music industry don’t make it justifiable for one to act like an “asshole,” it’s legitimate to want your seven-man band to help you carry the music.

“I’m not looking forward to playing 47 shows of half-assedness,” Newcombe told his band in front of the Crescent Ballroom crowd at last night’s show. His comment came with the second restart of a song, a sign that Newcombe has a clear vision of what he wants and doesn’t care who knows.

An assorted audience was present and though their ages and styles seemed to vary, their enthusiasm for BJM was shared. For more than two hours (close to three), they danced and sang along with a liveliness that didn’t seem to diminish with the time.

They were untroubled by the tension that swelled between the band members, except for one concertgoer who decided to throw a plastic bottle on stage before the restart of a second song. The object looked as if it hit the bottom of Newcombe’s legs. “Don’t throw shit at me,” he said, adding that he was serious about the band members not playing. I don’t blame him.

Minor drama aside, the show was a hit: loud and long.

I wasn’t concerned about what the loud sound was doing to the little hairs in my ears, even though the hairs on my arms moved with the music, as if they were BJM fans too. I wasn’t afraid of Ricky Maymi’s guitar hitting me in the head while it was being swung around, but I was mesmerized watching him play a couple feet away from me. Percussionist Joel Gion was fun to watch and had a getup (beanie and sunglasses) that reminded me of Jack Nicholson in “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.” With eight musicians on stage, it’s a lot to take in. Even Newcombe, with his hair in his face, alternating between sitting on a stool, standing up, and playing on his knees, was a sight to behold.

But I think my visiting friend, who has seen the band twice at Turner Hall in Milwaukee, summed up the vibe of the show best: “Everyone always talks about Anton being an asshole…if there’s anything about Anton, he demands perfection. He led the band through a psychedelic sound wave of reverb and fuzz for over two hours.”


Germany’s The Blue Angel Lounge opened the show. Their performance included a standing drummer (always impressive in my book), Newcombe adding to the vocals of one song, and a vibe that set the tone for the set that followed.

View BJM’s set “suggestion” list here.

No Comments


  1. Attached to Button Pins « WHAT SHE SAID - [...] my button haul video below. The first four pins were purchased at a Brian Jonestown Massacre gig ($0.25 each or…

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *