Mazzy Star Concert

Mazzy Star/Jesus & Mary Chain

I don't know which was more wonderful -- the 1994 hard-driving, multi-effect version of the Jesus and Mary Chain, with the black candy psychedelia of Mazzy Star opening for them -- both in their untouchable glory amidst a mad mass of worshippers, or, to have seen the JAM Chain in a tiny club back in 1987 on their Darklands tour, while Dave Rohback, with his pre-Mazzy Star band, Opal, opened for them, with Hope Sandoval substituting for vocalist Kendra Smith on the last part of the tour? That 1987 show was like a foreshadowing of the rave reception they were to eventually receive touring together in 1994. (Was it also when Hope and William Reid first met and hooked up?) Did Hope know that, by 1994, frat boys and raver kids still with zits and braces would be screaming to her, "Mazzy, I love you!"?

Neither Mazzy Star nor the JAM Chain were doing interviews this tour, although we did run into Suki, one of the guitarists for Mazzy Star, as she strolled about the grounds of Saltair wondering if this was indeed the film site for cult movie Carnival of Souls (which it was). We tried to talk to David Rohback later, but, just as on stage, he kept within the darkened corners, secretly working his guitar voodoo, while eluding journalists, as well. More congenial was Keith Mitchell (also with Opal), with whom we chatted a bit.

Throughout their entire set, the lighting focused upon Hope, who stood in statuesque delicacy, very detached, yet very potent vocally. The whole ambience was as sweetly lethargic as morphine. Hope was framed much of the time by a purple ray of light emanating from behind. She hardly moved at all, but shook her maraca and tambourine with mechanic precision. They began the set with a new, or at least unavailable, song called "Flowers". Half of the set included works from the recent "So Tonight That I Might See" ("Into Dust", "Bells Ring", "Fade Into You", "Mary of Silence" and the title track) and the other songs were classics off of "She Hangs Brightly" ("Ride It On", "Halah", "Ghost On A Highway" and "Blue Flower").

Now, I don't know if Mazzy Star plan it this way, but they have the effect of slowly, caressingly, lulling the audience into a psychedelic trance. I mean, I swear I actually saw the sinister bluesy music of Dave Rohback's guitar float up in the air and swirl about like a thick haze of tangible sounds. They finished with a numbing version of "So Tonight That I Might See" which marked them as one of the best bands to "phase out" with, since Spacemen 3.

© 1995, Rational Alternative Digital