My Bloody Valentine- On Becoming a Decibel

My Bloody Valentine
September 23rd 2008
Roseland Ballroom

There is a reason why people listen to My Bloody Valentine religiously, and we all heard it yesterday. Last night’s show was the last of their reunion trilogy in New York, which in their grander USA tour continues westward to end in Los Angeles on October 2nd. No one thought these shows would ever happen again since the band’s break up in 1991, which makes yesterday’s experience (and future shows) all the more surreal. Phenomenal would be an understatement to describe last night, though I don’t know if one word could describe what I felt as I watched in awe. It was a show that tested the human body and mind in the face of life-altering decibel levels. Boxes of earplugs were scattered around the venue as if one pair alone would not suffice. Some brave souls tempted to endure the show without these little saviors. Wikipedia’s entry for the band picks up on this observation of the sound magnitude of MBV’s past reunion shows in the UK:

“One visitor comments he saw a 130 dB volume on the mixing desk, another visitor comments he saw 132 dB at one moment, both louder than the Loudest Band in the World record before the Guinness Book of World Records discontinued the category.”

That makes me feel awesome.

The music was truly hypnotizing (I saw so many faces of honest devotion with eyes shut) and possessed the audience into some involuntary bodily movements that were aesthetically fascinating. But the hypnotic quality shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who listens to MBV. Neither should the fact that it was nearly impossible to discern any of the vocals. What impressed me the most was the sheer power from the drummer and bassist. The sound they produced together was the backbone of last night’s beastly performance. They even had a mirror installed next to the drum set for easy communication. All in all, I was more than satisfied with the show. I nearly cried when they played Cigarette In Your Bed.

Though there was also an opening band called The Lily’s, they were just that—a band you mention before you forget.

Some people brought up that the nostalgia effect as a factor that made this show more amazing than it really was. But for the younger generation like me, last night was not nostalgia, it was now. And hands down, it was my best show yet.

8/9 (9/9 for MBV)


Sep 25 2008 Kool Haus, Toronto Ontario
Sep 27 2008 Aragon Ballroom, Chicago Illinois
Sep 30 2008 The Concourse Exhibition Center, San Francisco California
Oct 1 2008 Santa Monica Civic, Santa Monica California
Oct 2 2008 Santa Monica Civic, Santa Monica California

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