I am deeply apologetic to everyone who couldn’t make it to see the Brian Jonestown Massacre show at the Commodore Ballroom on September 8th. Even if you aren’t a fan, or have ever heard of their music, that night will forever go down in history as possibly the last group’s venture above the border.

For those who haven’t heard of the BJM, they are the lesser-known musical rivals and lovers of the Dandy Warhols, who altogether pick apart social mores and fashion bubble-gum tunes to reflect modern-day trendy, social indoctrination. Being an existential pessimist I was hyped up on seeing the quintet rock out only two months after seeing the Dandy Warhols in the flesh.

they're never coming back


Needless to say, the set was doomed from the very beginning. I have to say a word or two about how Icaught the end tail of the second opening band, The Hugs, only to find them to be a group of 18 year-old boys with peach fuzz and shitty guitars (never buy an Epiphone) that wouldn’t hold a tune. To be honest their set was a cacophony of angsty unsophisticated, and technically defunct tunes. 

At that point I wasn’t too upset though, considering that the BJM was finally going to come on. But no. Those arrogant, but brilliant agents of musical genius didn’t come on until nearly half past 11, at this point causing mutinous stirrings in the crowd. One guy behind me yelled obscenities at the band, causing me to spill my beer all over another girl’s ankles. Shit. They finally started playing, opening up with a transcendent, psychedelic jam which bled into “Who?” from their albumTake It From The Man! Even though the music started flowing gorgeously, lead singer Anton’s back to the audience was an ominous foreshadowing of the aggression soon to come.

Contrary to what you, dear readers, may imagine to mediate the crowd’s tension, the music only exacerbated the feeling of getting ripped off at this show. Anton kept stepping backstage,leaving the rest of the band to hold down the situation by playing the same bleeding four chords for ten minute intervals. Anton, I love you, but why do you love the heroin so much? Anton comes back onstage and declares what a beautiful place Vancouver is, clearly getting increasingly fucked up as the night goes on. 

At about ten minutes to one, some guy in the crowd threw a beer bottle at Anton’s back, causing him to scream death threats into the microphone, his middle fingers flying around. At this point the band left the stage, most likely the last time to present themselves on the Canadian concert scene indefinitely. But shit, you could taste the hatred and Anton’s wounded ego, who screamed at us all that we should all “humble ourselves.” Don’t misconstrue this, but this show was so bad that it paradoxically was so good; just don’t do heroin, OK kids?