Tag Archives: Anton Newcombe Commodore 2007

Anton Newcombe: Brian Jonestown Massacre in Vancouver

Last night Dave and I went to go see Brian Jonestown Massacre at the Commodore. We’re both big fans of Anton’s music and so we were pretty excited at seeing him live for the first time. It took a while for the band to play their set and as time went on the crowd pressed closer and closer around us.

We were close to the stage and had to fight back a few aggressive people who I guess thought they could muscle their way in. Two of them pushed their way through at separate times saying, “Hey, man you mind if I get in there? I want to take some pictures. This is probably the last time I’m going to see Anton live again. I’ll move out quick.” “Yeah, sure go right ahead.” “Hey, Anton’s not in a good mood tonight.” he said with a half smile. “I don’t want to be in throwing range. I was backstage and he didn’t recognize me but I got him to take his medicine. You know his medicine, heh? We’re friends.” Yeah, friends. Right. He said that with the smugness of someone who sees himself close to the flame but is mainly there to witness the spectacle of public self-destruction.

So it was in anticipation that we waited for the band to take the stage. I guess anything can happen with Anton.

But lucky for us they did take the stage. And lucky for us they did play. Was it a completely pleasant experience? No. Anton, it turns out wasn’t in a good state of mind, so he terrorized his band and was nasty and a bit hostile to the audience but he was prepared to play his heart out because that’s his zone. And he did just that until some fucking asshole threw a broken beer bottle at him. That person was there for the spectacle and not for Anton’s music.

Anton’s first album is called Thank God For Mental Illness. Maybe because his dad killed himself or maybe because Anton himself suffers from mental illness. I’m not sure. But it was with a real mixture of sadness and joy that I watched him. He’s a trainwreck of a person with an amazing amount of talent. His heart and soul go into his music and no matter what you say, it’s still amazing to witness that kind of raw talent. I hope Anton’s life doesn’t get so hard that he doesn’t stick around to continue creating great music.

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