Sometimes, when a performer hasn't soundchecked properly or is careless, the audience gets subjected to a moment of screeching feedback that's startling, wince-inducing, and occasionally painful. In the mid-'80s, Glasgow's Jesus & Mary Chain made an aesthetic of those moments, combining them with Beach Boys melodies, Velvet Underground drones, and disdainful detachment, and at Union Transfer Saturday night, those screeches, between songs or within them, were ubiquitous. And marvelous.
The Mary Chain's debut album, 1985's Psychocandy, presented compact pop songs cloaked in feedback: "Just Like Honey" and "Never Understand" offered singsong melodies, sung in Jim Reid's baritone, propelled by simple drumbeats and amped up with his brother William's wall-of-sound guitar. They were equal parts Spector and Stooges, equally enticing and alienating, and influenced later groups such as My Bloody Valentine and Sonic Youth. The Mary Chain lasted until 1999, releasing consistently great singles and increasingly uneven albums until the brothers' volatile relationship caused the band - which had gone through numerous lineups - to self-destruct. Since then, they've done a few reunion tours and released one new song, 2008's "All Things Must Pass"; other new music is rumored.