MY BLOODY VALENTINE
February 8th, 1992
After a five-minute barrage of feedback strum climaxed My Bloody
Valentine's performance, the pair of good 'ol boys working back-gate
security pronounced the band the loudest and worst they'd ever heard.
In rock, what goes around comes around, though not necessarily in a
manner designed to please earlier generations. Where punk was
supposed to spell the death of the guitar hero, it has belatedly
produced a mutant strain - one that's in gloriously high-decibel
evidence on the current tour pairing Britain's My Bloody Valentine
and Massachusetts's Dinosaur Jr.
Masterminded by guitarist Kevin Shields, the two-man, two-woman
Valentine turned ambient guitar into a force field of sound - New Age
repititions to rattle the teeth of the deaf. Even more than on the
record, the band made melody subliminal and vocals an indecipherable
element of the mix, distilling its sound into a warped drone of
controlled chaos (like the Jesus and Mary Chain with its batteries
running down). By the time Shields said good night - the first words
to the audience by any member of the band - no one could hear him.
After giving the sellout crowd an hour to recover, Dinosaur Jr
responded to MBV's challenge with a powerhouse performance of its own,
one that left the offhand erratics of previous tours behind. With
material drawn heavily from last year's album Green Mind, guitarist
J Mascis and band (drummer Murph and recent bass recruit Mike
Johnson) transformed The Wagon into a double-time blitzkrieg,
exchanged the acoustic underpinnings of Blowing It for a full surge
of electricity and turned the recent single Whatever's Cool With Me;
into a tour de force.
Throughout the set, hooks that are almost pop met musical mayhem
that was almost hardcore. If this sounds like a recent recipe for
success, one of the mysteries of Nirvana's mainstream ascendancy is
that Dinosaur Jr didn't get there first.
- Don McLeese
Originally appeared in Rolling Stone, April 2, 1992. Copyright © Rolling Stone