Brian Jonestown Massacre brings psychedelic age to the Top Hat
(Missoula Current) First the name, Brian Jonestown Massacre. Brian Jones was involved as a founding member of the Rolling Stones and perhaps its prime musical innovator in the early to mid 60's, including the psychedelic rock album “Their Satanic Majesties Request,” which has been a major inspiration for Brian Jonestown Massacre founder and musical project Anton Newcombe.
Brian Jones was, at that time, a major creative influence, but he would die two years later and the direction of the Stones changed. This era of popular music, in particular the Sgt Peppers album of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones, was reflective of the hippie psychedelic movement for the San Francisco bands Jefferson Airplane, Big Brother and the Holding Company, and of course the Grateful Dead.
They also found inspiration in the shoegaze, goth and dream pop artists such as Mazzy Star, My Bloody Valentine and Cocteau Twins. The reference to the Jonestown Massacre is less obvious.
In an interview of BJM in 2014 in Double Negative and UK magazine, the author wrote “The latter part of the name signifies a cult-like devotion, a willingness to do battle without question and self-made philosophies that skirt hundreds of other topics. In short, if you like your music and its people boring then it’s time to take your leave.”
While this gives a possible reason, it is not entirely satisfactory. Newcombe in a 2014 interview with the Guardian said, “Well, there was the interesting correlation between the way people treated rock stars and the whole cult nature of the thing. Like the way [cult leader] Jim Jones conducted himself with his Aviator shades in front of his congregation.”
While the band does not have the massive cult-like following some artists have, it does have a solid core of fans that are devoted to the music. Many have been with BJM from the beginning, however, there are also many who weren't born with the band first formed.
For 33 years the Brian Jonestown Massacre has made music that explores many different avenues. They have always been seeking new directions for their music. The 20th album recently released, “The Future Is Your Past,” is a good bookend to the band's first “Methodrone.” Both are intense with the psychedelic feel that Anton Newcombe explores and produces in music.
The concert at the Top Hat was sold out. This venue is the perfect setting for the Brian Jonestown Massacre to play. The music is intimate and deeply personal and it is clear they feed off the energy of the crowd and the crowd off the band.
The show was opened by Los Angeles based Color Green.