The Brian Jonestown Massacre Take a Look Forward at Brooklyn Steel

The Brian Jonestown Massacre Take a Look Forward at Brooklyn Steel

March 29, 2022

The Brian Jonestown Massacre – Brooklyn Steel – March 28, 2022

Few bands out there can match the combination of prolificness and longevity quite like the Brian Jonestown Massacre, a combination that added up to a packed-house sold-out show at Brooklyn Steel, on a Monday night no less. Over the course of the evening, Anton Newcombe and the rest of the veteran ensemble only slightly leaned into their three-plus decades together and considerable discography, largely focusing on new material from two planned upcoming albums, Newcombe professing that it’s “more important to keep looking forward.” It was a set that ended up having a similar mixed momentum, forward propulsion interspersed with stretches of what felt like a room standing in place. They took to a stage doused in red and shambled into the opening “We Never Had a Chance,” off their most recent prepandemic self-titled release, a single guitar chord and tambourine shake building as the drums and three more lo-fi guitars kicked in, white spotlights scanning the crowd, inviting them in as Newcombe sang, “A freeze-frame lasts forever but the picture is small.”

New songs or old, the music was in no rush, and the band carried that easygoing no-hurry vibe throughout, Newcombe pausing in between to offer a thought or a story or just to chitchat with his bandmates or guitar tech. Jangles of 12-string, electric and acoustic guitars mingled in the air with compelling drum patterns as Mardi Gras lights lit up the crowded room on songs like “Anemone,” with the stick-in-your-head lyric “You should be picking me up, instead youre dragging me down,” scattered sing-alongs popping up in the audience. Newcombe’s banter hopped between describing his kid’s inspiration for his songwriting (“Your Mind Is My Café”) and inquiring whether “making it” in New York City was still something noteworthy (the crowd around me seemed pretty sure it was).

A long struggle to get the 12-string in tune was followed almost immediately by Newcombe singing, “I will wait for you, you will wait for me,” which summed up the energy in the room at that point. Things back in tune, the band found their decades-of-experience bearings to finish strong, increasing tempos and zigzagging the guitars, delivering for their dedicated fans in the room, while always keeping at least one eye on what’s coming next. — A. Stein | @Neddyo

(The Brian Jonestown Massacre play Rams Head Live! in Baltimore tomorrow.)

(The Brian Jonestown Massacre play Roadrunner in Boston on Friday.)

Photos courtesy of Dana (distortion) Yavin |

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