Photo by JONATHAN VALANIA
Last night, The Fillmore was levitating three feet high and rising by shoegaze progenitors My Bloody Valentine. The original MBV line-up is currently touring the US for the first time in five years, and, as last night demonstrated, they are still more than capable of blowing minds and melting faces with thick walls of fuzzy reverse reverb. Openers Heavy Blanket, J Mascis’s new three-piece instrumental stoner-rock band, Heavy Blanket, warmed us up for the ear-blasting volume that lay in store. The band seems like a fun little project for Mascis to solo the entire time with the same power trio configuration as Dinosaur Jr.
When MBV finally walked onto the stage they were dwarfed by their amp speaker stacks. Lead guitarist/vocalist, and My Bloody Valentine mastermind Kevin Shields was plugged into six amps, each pushing a 4×12 cabinet – I kid you not. They had enough gear for five bands, and their sound was just as immense. They began with “I Only Said,” a foreshadowing of the set containing more Loveless songs than anything else – six songs out of the twenty played, to be precise – and nobody was complaining. As Shields and vocalist/guitarist Bilinda Butcher stood there, whammy bars never released from grip in the fabled “glide guitar” fashion, I was in utter stupefaction that I was actually witnessing this miracle of music.
MBV wowed the crowd with two new songs but nobody knows what they’re titled yet, presumably we will find out upon the imminent release of two EPs of new MBV music. The set list was everything the superfans wanted to hear, short of the band playing their entire discography from start to finish. A rear-screen projector flashed a barrage of psychedelic imagery behind the band, but I sometimes preferred to close my eyes and dissociate to the swirling symphony of heavenly noise. On “Wonder 2,” drummer Colm O’ Cíosóig and bassist Debbie Googe strapped on guitars and joined Butcher and Shields to create a glorious, heart-racing sonic racket of pure transcendence. Closing the set, they played “You Made Me Realise,” from the 1988 EP of the same name. Injected into the middle of the song was a seven- or eight-minute wall of mostly unchanging fuzz that cast a meditative high upon the crowd, and undoubtedly the band as well. My Bloody Valentine didn’t come out for an encore, but the crowd had already been satiated to the point of intoxication. — KYLE WEINSTEIN