Last Friday I went to see My Bloody Valentine with my friend Adam at the Riviera theater here in Chicago. I’d heard the band name a million times before but wasn’t familiar with their music at all.
I was warned to bring some earplugs, as MBV gets loud. When we walked into the Riv, the door staff was actually handing them out. An employee mentioned that the band had informed the venue that the last 10 minutes of the show was going to be particularly loud.
Often when I go to see a show I have earplugs on me but don’t end up using them. As soon as we walked into the main hall where the band was playing, it was pretty clear this was not going to be one of those nights.
It’s often said that My Bloody Valentine music is a ‘wall of sound’, with the instruments blending together to a point it’s difficult to hear where one stops and another begins. And again, this show was loud. The air was thick with guitars and distortion. Every beat of the kick drum pulsed deep into my chest cavity. The voices and their harmonies blended together, and it seemed there were few actual lyrics- rather simply more layers of sound. The melodies were dark poems in themselves.
In the minute or two between the songs, there was total silence. No talking on the part of the band for the first 2o minutes or so of the show. A wild contrast to the sonic deluge bookending it.
When I got home, I looked up the setlist from the show and added the songs I could find into a Spotify playlist so can I revisit them in the future.
My Bloody Valentine, and specifically their album ‘Loveless’, is largely responsible for the “shoegaze” genre. For more information about the style, and the many bands MBV influenced, check out What The Hell Is Shoegaze on the Baeble Blog.