I WAS THERE: Brian Jonestown Massacre @ Terminal 5, 7.25.08

Photos/Text by Aaron Richter

Rarely, if ever, can self-titled watch a two-hour set and leave the venue wanting more. But as the Brian Jonestown Massacre was cut off at Terminal 5’s midnight music curfew, we found ourselves wishing for just … one … more … hour? Yep. For their only US appearance this year, Anton Newcombe and his band were absolutely mesmerizing, dosing out just enough bat-shit craziness to strike the right pose but never derail the show entirely.

Following the band, Anton walked onstage to huge applause from the surprisingly sizeable audience (though not sold out–you could still buy tickets at the door). Tambourine player Joel Gion, who is back performing with the BJM, ambled out seconds later to an even louder roar. Throughout the set, Joel, sporting a beard, was hilarious and adorable and spoke about going to Coney Island for the first time. “I ate 64 hot dogs,” he said. “I think that’s a record.” Anton was captivating, intense and, by Anton standards, well behaved, even when being taunted by the audience. Give the guy a break. At one point he put on a loop and left for a smoke break (which was annoying), and toward the end, he introduced “If Love is the Drug” by dedicating it to a friend who had died earlier in the day. The sentiment started off somber and heartfelt and ended with Anton saying that the guy who died was an asshole, calling band member Rob Campanella a dick and telling someone in the crowd to shut the fuck up. Oh well. At least he tried…

Outbursts aside, the band sounded enormous and tight, with drummer Dan Allaire pounding a menacing force. The volume peaked when the group strapped on four guitars (two of which were 12-strings). Highlights included “Servo,” “Evergreen,” “Who?” and a monstrously heavy “Nevertheless.”