London WC2 12-Bar Club

An unfairly peripheral figure in today's harsh commercial climate he may be, but amid his own select group of disciples he's forever [B]Jesus[/B].

The average erstwhile rock’n’roll legend might consider playing to a smaller-than-tiny audience at this smoky cubby-hole something of a comedown. But William Reid is not your average legend. Eighteen months after The Jesus And Mary Chain fell apart very publicly on their last American tour, you suspect he feels rather relieved to be sat alone with an acoustic guitar and a couple of beers, fumbling his way through some new songs to just his wife and some adoring diehards. “Och, you’re awful nice and kind,” he says.

Only a miser could begrudge William Reid this modicum of respect. His recent ‘Finbegin’ album, under the Lazycame alias, was a sometimes harrowing exercise in catharsis, the sound of a man far beyond the end of his tether and searching for a sense of peace amid the ruins, so to witness Reid so hale of spirit is quite touching. He plays most of that record’s key moments this evening, rudimentary shells of composition sung in a consumptive moan that amply authenticates ‘Unfinished Business’‘s account of vengeful love. ‘510 Lovers’ cracks folk up with its quintessentially William line in mordant wit: [I]”She’s been fucking since the age of ten/She’s been crazy even before then”[/I].

In between tunes – and the word is used advisedly – Reid proves he still bears several bags of chips on each shoulder with regard to his former band’s place in history. Which is undoubtedly part of the reason he has no qualms about plugging in and playing some Mary Chain songs, most pointedly ‘Never Understood’. “I [I]like[/I] The Jesus And Mary Chain!” he proclaims, before bowing out with a ragged, still seductive ‘Reverence’. An unfairly peripheral figure in today’s harsh commercial climate he may be, but amid his own select group of disciples he’s forever Jesus.

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