The Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Soundcarriers @ Rock City, Nottingham, UK, 12th February, 2023

Feb 14, 2023
By Dom Gourlay
Photography by Juliana Loveluck
Web Exclusive


With a career spanning three decades and over twenty studio albums to their name, The Brian Jonestown Massacre – and in particular founder member Anton Newcombe – are living proof that hard work and dedication to the cause ultimately pays dividends. Three quarters of the way through their biggest UK headline tour to date that’s seen every single show more or less sold out including tonight’s event at the 2100 capacity Rock City proving testament to the years Newcombe has spent honing his craft while building up a priceless catalogue housing some of the finest compositions set to tape over the same period of time. It’s his prolific nature that undoubtedly helps keep the flame burning for BJM, as they’ve affectionately come to be known. Last year’s Fire Doesn’t Grow On Trees long player heralded an overwhelming round of plaudits from fans and publications alike, while latest long player Your Future Is Your Past – released only last Friday (10th February) – will almost pick up similar levels of acclaim over the coming weeks and months. So its understandable anticipation levels are already at their highest for The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s first show in Nottingham since July 2014.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

For this tour, they’ve taken the unconventional step of having a magician open for them every evening. So without further ado, meet Ben Taylor aka The Magic Mod. Hailing from the town of Crawley in Sussex, just a short drive away from Brighton. Taylor has already opened for acts such as The Libertines and Paul Weller so this tour hasn’t proved as daunting as many might expect. Indeed here, he has the audience in the palm of his hands within minutes. Charming, funny and actually a solid gold cardsmith. Interacting with and encouraging participation from the crowd, he invites a girl on stage called Lola to assist him perform a card trick that looks as painful to execute as the end result is beguiling. Nevertheless, the rapturous applause he receives at the end coupled with shouts of “We want more!” suggests he’ll be back, possibly as a headline act in the not too distant future.

The Magic Mod

Locally based four-piece The Soundcarriers have been one of Nottingham’s best kept secrets for far too long. However, having released their fifth album Wilds last year to a wealth of critical acclaim, recognition has been a long time coming for The Soundcarriers. Nevertheless, its thoroughly deserved so comes as no surprise that their masterful presence on one of the biggest stages in the foursome’s native city is incredibly well received by all and sundry, including Anton Newcombe who says a personal thank you at the end of The Soundcarriers set. Fusing elements of psychedelic pop with experimental electronic passages (think Jefferson Airplane meets Broadcast without managing to sound like either). Songs like “Waves” and “Low Light” shine effervescently under Rock City’s hallowed spotlight. Leonore Wheatley and Dorian Conway’s luscious harmonies perpetuating dream-like states of their own. Neither looking nor sounding out of place, it’s probably fair to say The Soundcarriers were made for stages such as this all along even if its taken a while for the rest of the world to realise it.

The Soundcarriers

Arriving on stage a little later than scheduled, The Brian Jonestown Massacre have become one of the most instantly recognisable outfits in music. With Newcombe and tambourine player Joel Gion the most obvious focal points stage left and centre respectively, alongside a cast of musicians who’ve played with the band for some time now such as guitarists Ricky Maymi and Hákon Aðalsteinsson, bass player Collin Hegna and multi-instrumentalist Ryan Van Kriedt representing arguably the most stable BJM line-up for some time. Aided by newest addition on drums Uri Rennert, who even gets his own football-style chant (“Here we/Uri fucking go!”). So it goes without saying each song they play is devoured feverishly by those out front. That’s not to say there aren’t a few technical issues, which causes the odd delay in between songs, such is the way Newcombe and BJM strive for perfection. But when the band get into their groove, as happens on the majestic “Do Rainbows Have Ends?” off their most recent long player or “You Think I’m Joking?” from 2022’s predecessor they’re untouchable. Sublime in every conceivable way. With the curfew fast approaching, rigidly sticking to the setlist goes out the window and its these moments of unconventional improvisation that sets The Brian Jonestown Massacre apart from all their peers and contemporaries.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

Long may it continue.

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

The Soundcarriers

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

The Soundcarriers

The Magic Mod

The Brian Jonestown Massacre

The Soundcarriers

The Brian Jonestown Massacre


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