The Jesus and Mary Chain welcomed Phoebe Bridgers to the stage at Glastonbury on Friday (June 24).
For an epic version of their classic track ‘Just Like Honey’, the greatest band ever to come out of East Kilbride welcomed Bridgers into the fold on the John Peel stage to provide the crucial cooed backing vocals on the opening song from their seminal 1985 debut LP, ‘Psychocandy’.
The track has a storied live history, with previous special guests including, but not limited to, Molly Rankin of Canadian indie-poppers Alvvays, Belle & Sebastian’s Isobel Campbell, ‘Mad Men’ actress Jessica Paré and My Bloody Valentine singer-guitarist Bilinda Butcher.
Now, Bridgers has joined the track’s hall of fame, as part of a memorable Glastonbury that saw her play her own epic set on the John Peel stage the same day, during which she led the crowd in a furious chant of “fuck the supreme court” after the US banned abortion on Friday. She went on to close with an incendiary take on ‘I Know the End’ that featured a guest turn from Arlo Parks.
“So, we’re gonna bring out someone to help us do the next song, I think, and I’d like to introduce Phoebe Bridgers,” said Jim Reid, as the Los Angeles indie phenomenon emerged from side of stage.
That the famously taciturn frontman went as far as to grant her that brief prelude suggests he might be mellowing with age; he usually says nothing before playing the song, with a 2007 profile by The Guardian relating the following about their reunion set that year at Coachella festival in California: “having already stolen the show, they brought out Scarlett Johansson to sing backing vocals on ‘Just Like Honey’, and in true Mary Chain style, did not even bother to introduce her.”
‘Just Like Honey’ made a memorable movie appearance at the climax of ‘Lost in Translation’, Sofia Coppola’s meditative 2003 masterpiece, which launched Johansson’s career. Meanwhile, for their own part, the Mary Chain did away with the recent form book by running through the hits; they have spent much of their post-pandemic time on the road to date playing their classic 1987 album ‘Darklands’ in full, with the encores typically littered with deep cuts.
Instead, at Glastonbury, they deployed a thunderous ‘Snakedriver’, a handsome, melodic ‘Some Candy Talking’, and, notably, both bookends from their 1998 record ‘Munki’: ‘I Love Rock and Roll’ and ‘I Hate Rock and Roll’.
That album’s tour saw the group spectacularly implode; Reid and his older sibling, guitarist William, have routinely made the Gallagher brothers’ relationship look a cordial one. “After each tour we wanted to kill each other, and after the final tour, we tried,” Jim noted drily in 2006. The band have remained together since reforming in 2007, but have released only one album, 2017’s ‘Damage and Joy’.