My Bloody Valentine
Aragon Entertainment Center – Chicago, IL
The Irish shoegaze band, My Bloody Valentine, took a sold-out crowd on a sonic voyage through the cosmos Saturday night at the Aragon Entertainment Center. In the minds of MBV, the universe is deafening, so much so that free ear plugs were given away when entering the venue. I’ve never seen that done before, kudos.
Kevin and the gang took the stage shortly after 9pm and with a quick wave to the crowd, they broke in to “I Only Said,” a favorite for a lot of fans. During the entire set, there was only one song where the vocals were remotely audible among the distortion and reverb of the guitars. They didn’t talk to the crowd much either. Before the explosion of sound, Bilinda thanked the crowd for coming and Kevin added “yeah, thanks.” Those were the only words spoken to the crowd the whole show. But, when you’re My Bloody Valentine, you don’t really have to do much to please your fans, show up, make lots of noise, happy fans. The words seemed to forewarn the crowd of the 25-minute explosion that was about to take place.
After their heart warming words, they dove in to a finale that can only be explained as a beautiful noise. I overheard a fan after the show saying that he “felt like a bomb was going off.” He’s exactly right; it was a noise that you felt as much as you heard. Kevin and Bilinda bore down on their over driven guitars while Colm smashed the cymbals and Debbie added the bone-rattling rumble. In 25 minutes, most bands can play four or five songs. But, My Bloody Valentine isn’t most bands and they sure as hell weren’t going to play a normal set. Especially since this is their first tour in over a decade.
I’d like to point out that I had a smile on my face during this entire show. Especially during the flat-out roar some have referred to as ‘the holocaust.’
The calm after the storm came when they strolled straight into “You Made Me Realise” finishing off their hour and 40 minute set. I could only pick out the vocals in one song out of the entire set. Otherwise, they were buried deep behind distorted guitars, crashing cymbals, and muddy acoustics. Some say that it’s the poor room acoustics of Aragon but I have a sneaking suspicion that’s precisely how Kevin wanted it.
When the band left the stage, the crowd was left in a daze, a surreal atmosphere. A Perfect Circle’s “Fiddle and the Drum” was played as the crows dissipated and only added to that feeling. My ears didn’t know what to think; suddenly the streets of Chicago were quiet…