London N1 Union Chapel Theatre

[a]Mazzy Star[/a] still move mountains of turbulent emotions with amazing grace. While yawning.

As any connoisseur knows, the main constituent of cool is a heightened talent for indifference. Think about it. A lot of the strategies of cool involve avoiding contact with emotions and ignoring the presence of other people. From sunglasses to pathological avoidance of direct eye contact and the abhorrence of public displays of affection. These factors considered, [a]Mazzy Star[/a]’s vocalist Hope Sandoval could write the book. If she could be bothered.

Still, she’s made it here tonight to play some old songs and some new ones. Last heard of on ‘Asleep From Day’ on last year’s Chemical Brothers LP ‘Surrender’, Sandoval‘s finally regrouped with partner David Roback after a three-year wilderness of collaborations and a famous (and now defunct) affair with the Jesus And Mary Chain‘s William Reid. Assisting for one night only on drums is freelance ex-My Bloody Valentine Colm O’Ciosoig but, as is the old school [a]Mazzy Star[/a] style, drums don’t feature too heavily. Hope is staring at the ceiling instead of the audience – mostly sat on the floor – and charming snakes out of the bayou on ‘Ride It On’ and ‘Halah’ (from their debut, ‘She Hangs Brightly’) with a cold distance which is – [I]of course [/I]- completely charming. Mazzy Star never make little earthquakes of bombast with their songs. You get the impression that it’d take a lot more than a black fly in her Chardonnay to ruffle Hope‘s feathers.

With the addition of bass and drums comes the new stuff. If [a]Mazzy Star[/a] have always seemed a little glassy-eyed, then the new material is positively opiated. The nightingale voice struggles for altitude while accompanied by low-down Velvet Underground dirges. And it’s spellbinding. Richard Fearless is among the crowd and nods appreciatively.

They do three encores including a piano-only accompanied version of Bo Diddley‘s ‘Mona’. And, despite the occasional artifice, somehow [a]Mazzy Star[/a] still move mountains of turbulent emotions with amazing grace. While yawning.