Brian Jonestown Massacre at Crescent Ballroom, 5/1/12

Brian Jonestown Massacre Crescent Ballroom Tuesday, May 1, 2012

See also: Tripping with the Brian Jonestown Massacre

I have a serious question for diehard Brian Jonestown Massacre fans: Is frontman Anton Newcombe a perfectionist or just an asshole? I'm no BJM scholar -- I haven't seen DIG!, the documentary that chronicles the bands feud with the Dandy Warhols and Newcombe's rock 'n' roll instability, but over the course of the band's two-hour set last night, I found myself wondering exactly what the guy's deal is.

I'm going to assume Newcombe is a little bit of both. And, fortunately, like most testy musicians who have been in the game for a couple of decades, he has the talent to back up the drama.

Most of Newcombe's remarks weren't too hostile. For the most part, it seemed like he was trying to get the best possible performance out of his band, though there seemed to be all sorts of guitar troubles. He complained about the reverb a bit, showing the audience his brand-new custom distortion pedal, admitting that he didn't know how to use it quite yet.

He restarted a couple of songs because he felt the other guitarists weren't up to par. ("There's five people playing guitar, will somebody please play the intro with me? It's seriously sucky . . . don't throw shit at me. I'm not looking forward to playing 47 shows of half-assedness, so try harder, please.") Newcombe also pointed out that it shouldn't be this hard due to the fact that one of the guitars was "better than Keith Richards' guitar" because it has two pickups, so "it's good enough."

And he wasn't happy with someone tossing something at him. I personally didn't see anyone throwing anything at Newcombe, but I also in the midst of scribbling Anton quotes, so I could have very well missed it. At the end of the show, the floor was a sticky mess covered with drink cups, so the audience would have had plenty of fodder.

In spite of the alleged projectile, the crowd seemed to love Brian Jonestown Massacre. Fans sang along and did awesome tripped-out dances to favorites like "Anemone," "Not If You Were the Last Dandy on Earth," "Open Heart Surgery," "Oh Lord," and so on. It seemed like every person I stood next to was a super-fan, so it's safe to say that BJM's two-hour-plus set was great. If you have any doubts, just ask the guy that kept worshiping Newcombe like Wayne and Garth standing before Alice Cooper.

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Melissa Fossum
Contact: Melissa Fossum

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