Live: My Bloody Valentine @ The El Rey, 4.16.09

My Bloody Valentine
All photos by David Greenwald

I’ll be frank: I’ve never thought of My Bloody Valentine as gods. Loveless has never sounded like a gift from Mt. Olympus. But on impulse, I plunked down my credit card for two tickets to their last-minute, pre-Coachella El Rey show last week, feeling like I was going to miss out on history otherwise. My Bloody Valentine, now, in a theater?! Unthinkable. When the show failed to sell out until hours before doors, I started getting edgy — maybe this was a mistake, maybe everybody was going to see Britney at Staples tonight (obviously!) — but there I was, picking up my earplugs at the door and staking out a spot in the middle of the venue, where I’d stand for an hour or so as we suffered through an unexpected opening act (a singer-songwriting one, no less; he was fine, but doomed from the start as a sacrificial lamb) and then a lengthy wait.

All told, it was worth it. It took the band a few songs to hit their stride for me, but as they launched into “Come In Alone,” the immensity of their sound was undeniable. It wasn’t so much the volume (LOUD) as the texture; there was simply so much sound pouring forth that it was impossible to grasp it all at once. It would’ve been a good night for drugs, but, alas. At times, though, the band sounded a wee bit dated. The Loveless material was as staggering as one would hope, but in almost two decades since its release, the songs — and Kevin’s pedals, at least to my plugged ears — haven’t changed. I guess there’s no sense in fixing something that’s not broken, especially if it damn near bankrupted a record label, but as with the albums themselves during my first exposures, I was hoping for something more. My Bloody Valentine has done things no other band can match, and yet, they have their flaws. To err is human; so is dropping a Benjamin on a concert. But I’m glad I went.

My Bloody Valentine – “Come In Alone”: mp3



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