It's tough to write up last night's show by the formerly notorious San Francisco pscyh-rock vets Brian Jonestown Massacre without bringing up the semi-celebrity they acquired by way of the hit indie documentary DiG!. Much like the movie, from which better than 90% of their semi-celebrity derives, this has almost nothing to do with the band's music.
We walked into the Exit/In having missed opening act The Flavor Crystals, finding instead a room packed full of fans cheering and jeering as BJM walked onstage, then looked at each other and tuned instruments for a good five minutes before breaking out their first tune. The group commenced with a string of sleepy, mid-tempo, semi-noisy, melody-driven hallucinogenics.
Annoying taunts from multiple male patrons persisted between songs, which we assume were intended to illicit a reaction from the band's oft-troubled leader Anton Newcomb. Anyone else who came expecting the volatile train-wreck persona made famous in the documentary surely went home disappointed. Newcomb ignored the catcalls completely, and the singer-songwriter once infamous for fighting audience members maintained a sober, steady focus on his trudging, fuzzy traipse into spacey, retro-flavored, shag-carpeted terrain.
In fact, there were very few surprises or even deviations from the 120 BPM tempo and vibrating melodies the band grooved on throughout the show. The lone exception came in the form of a drumloop-driven psychedelic industrial rap excursion somewhere around mid-set, during which Newcomb rocked the mic with a tale of a drug hunt gone violent. Those who came in with reasonable expectations of the band's signature pastiche of '60s psychedelia no doubt got their money's worth. Everyone else would just have to go home and put DiG! in their Netflix queue.