When my stepdad saw My Bloody Valentine in the ’90s, their trademark noise section was so brutally loud that his hearing was permanently damaged. So obviously when I heard they were playing in March, I immediately shelled out for tickets.
Soon after I bought the tickets, rumours began circulating online about the release of a new album. Similar rumours had been floating around ever since the release of their last album, way back in ’91. And then all of a sudden, ‘mbv’ had actually hit the shelves. The band had also put all the tracks onto YouTube, adding fade ins/outs and uploading at less-than-perfect quality to encourage fans to buy the album. It was good, but maybe not as good as their earlier stuff. Either way I was still excited to see them live.
We arrived at the Hammersmith Apollo groggy and tired from a combination of Tesco stubbies and coach-sickness. We felt a lot better once we were inside: two curved walls of humming amps and cabinets framed the drum kit, and some joker had put a Marshall mini-amp on top of the right-hand wall. Near the drums were oversized plastic safety screens, which Debbie Googe camped around during the set (to help her hear the drums?). I was a bit worried the venue would stop them from sounding their best; I’d been to the Hammersmith Apollo once before to see Sonic Youth and Shellac, and the sound had been shit.
But the sound was glorious. They played their best tunes. The noise section during ‘You Made Me Realise’ was so fantastically loud that my eyes shook in their sockets. Kevin Shields even cracked out a J Mascis signature Jazzmaster. In other words, it was fucking amazing.