Thank you, Brian Jonestown Massacre

Thank you, Brian Jonestown Massacre

May 23, 2018 Off By Denver Thread

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Photos by Michael McGrath, Words by Amy McGrath

Dear Anton Newcombe and the Brian Jonestown Massacre,

Thank you so very much for what you gave Denver last week.

Man, I’ve seen you guys a lot of times. Your music vibrates exactly on my frequency. My husband Michael describes it best: “It feels like having two pillows on either side of your head.” Your music – hypnotic, jangly psych- has been the soundtrack to a lot of late-night cross-country miles, a lot of lounging in the sun, a lot of delirious and fun times in my life. And last Thursday, you gave me exactly the kind of sonic healing that my brain has been so desperately in need of lately.

Sometimes when I’ve seen you guys, you’re not really getting along. Sometimes you’re not getting along musically, sometimes personally- often both. I’m observing, not complaining. It’s hard to hang out with people for years and years- to stay focused on a group goal, to be in close quarters on the road. It’s hard to be a restlessly, relentlessly creative entity for more than 25 years, make dozens of studio albums, and still be nice to each other. Anton, you’re a genius, and a perfectionist, and sometimes you can be a grumpy asshole too- but I’ve always loved you anyway. I’ve seen you guys fight on stage, throw tantrums, walk off, and also just be bored and annoyed with each other. But that is not what I saw on Thursday at the Gothic, not at all.

I saw a group of musicians who seemed to really love playing together, playing an upbeat set of music that managed to be both adventurous and packed with lots of happy jams and greatest hits (“Pish”! “Anemone”! “Servo”!). I saw Anton smiling and cracking jokes. I saw Joel play his tambourine with such fierce aplomb he ripped his hand open and had to be bandaged in the middle of the set. I saw a packed Gothic crowd smiling, bobbing their heads, eyes closed, riding sonic waves of joy. I felt relief and gratitude.

When so much of the world is just exploding with conflict and boiling over with tension and volcanic energy, I deeply appreciated seeing a happy, focused, functional Brian Jonestown Massacre playing a fabulous set of cheerfully wacked-out psychedelic rock music. Thanks so much, you guys, you gave us exactly what we needed.

Keep up the great work,

Amy McGrath