My Bloody Valentine Kool Haus, Toronto ON September 25

My Bloody Valentine Kool Haus, Toronto ON September 25
Photo: Andrea England
The anticipation for My Bloody Valentine’s comeback tour has been unparalleled not just because their reunion seemed the unlikeliest of any after 16 years of silence, but because everyone needed to hear if the noise lived up to the legend. In Toronto it certainly did, and then some, as the security guards offered earplugs to every goer entering the venue.

The Irish quartet entered without much to say, and simply launched into the droning waltz of "I Only Said,” which caused an eruption of gratitude from the audience. Immediately it was revealed that the noise wasn't the only thing to fear as a barrage of strobe lighting matched the volume with an assault on the eyes that was equally as violent.

The set covered the gamut of their Creation years, touching on their EPs and Isn’t Anything, but focusing mostly on their masterpiece, Loveless. It was an assortment that found them constantly shifting tempos without hesitation: the fuzz-driven crunch of "(When You Wake) You’re Still In A Dream” collided with the diffident "Cigarette In Your Bed,” while the punishing, spiky tempo of "Nothing Much to Lose” came to an abrupt halt for the divine hum of "To Here Knows When.”

As hypnotic as their shoegaze was, the Valentines weren’t flawless; "Come In Alone” needed a second attempt after a miscue, the laser-guided melody of "Only Shallow” got lost in the deep drone, and a good portion of the vocals were buried far beyond audible levels, but none of that seemed to matter.

When "You Made Me Realise” finally struck us at the end, the moment everyone was waiting for was even more catastrophic than expected. The much-talked-about "holocaust section,” a blast of white noise with the impact of watching a space shuttle launch directly underneath it, lasted a ridiculous 23 minutes; it literally made my jeans quake, my heart race, my ears scream (even with earplugs) and the walls rumble. It simply felt like the loudest noise that was ever made, and it gave everyone in attendance an unforgettable experience — be it good or bad — that far exceeded the anticipation.