Thursday, 7 July, 2022 in Culture, Live Reviews, Music

Into Music Live Review: Primal Scream

Concert: Primal Scream
Venue: Glasgow Queen’s Park
Date:  2 July 2022

Primal Scream are one of this island’s most important rock bands and their still fresh sounding 1991 album Screamadelica remains as one of the most ground breaking, pivotal, seminal albums of the last thirty odd years. Jeez, it has even featured as a Royal Mail postage stamp, alongside other iconic albums such as London Calling and The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

Reading news of the tour dates (to celebrate the 30th anniversary of Screamadelica) in the NME a few months back, it was mentioned this was their debut album! WRONG! Sonic Flower Groove and their self-titled second album preceded this influential release. While it’s a shame the NME hasn’t lasted the test of time, let’s celebrate the fact that Screamadelica certainly has. That Glasgow’s Queen’s Park was chosen as the venue was clearly significant, this and its surrounding area were where Bobby Gillespie and Robert “Throb” Young grew up and the gestation of what was to become Primal Scream began to take shape.

Image: David Ross

Inside and under the big top venue, the atmosphere was palpable, the strains of I Belong To Glasgow bellowing out before the band took to the stage and when they did, it was like a mix of a football derby and an electric club night.

Movin’ On Up kicked off the show in style, a gospel choir accompaniment the perfect foil to the band’s bluesy licks. Gillespie, front and centre urging the crowd on, barely having to sing himself as the audience erupted in a euphoric, communal voice. Wow!

Another belter quickly followed with Slip Inside This House, the Scream’s take on the 13th Floor Elevators favourite. Don’t Fight It, Feel It burst with beats and energy with Gillespie and the gospel choir singing the vocal which the late Denise Johnson had contributed so much to. Come Together bubbled and teased with Martin Duffy’s deft keyboard skills slowly building the track as the choir joined in. A heavenly experience.

Image: Lisa Semple

Lamentably however, the gig lost quite a bit of traction in the middle section where more bluesy ballad, come down tracks such as Inner Flight, Damaged and I’m Coming Down were played. I thought the vocal at times was low in the mix but on reflection it was probably OK. The real issue here was the small but loud minority in the crowd who used this time to chat to pals about their new house, their upcoming holiday in Lanzarote, their 2.4 children, their new car and the cost to fuel it. Fuck off. The petty bourgeoisie were out in force, still chained to the man and a capitalist dream (nightmare) that only exists for the few. Surely a gig is there for entertainment, to lose yourself in the moment, to escape momentarily the rat race. Go outside, go to the pub, go home to have that discussion but don’t be a dick, the band are why people are there, not to hear your inane drivel…..

Shine Like Stars closed the initial set and it was apt as of course, Screamadelica owes much to those who are no longer with us. Footage played behind the band including old videos, psychedelic film and photos of the likes of Robert Young and Andrew Weatherall.

Completing the Screamdelica set was Loaded, the first song of the band’s encore. It started with a lone piper which was a great touch, the band coming back on before launching in to an epic version of the club classic.

Resplendent in a Screamadelica suit, Gillespie then torched the venue with an utterly amazing take on Swastika Eyes, a real highlight, Duffy’s keys again leading the track at a ferocious pace. Jailbird followed, its rock and roll blues the perfect song for Andrew Innes to showcase his guitar dexterity.

Image: Lisa Semple

Enter stage right, Gary “Mani” Mountfield, the ex Primal Scream bass player who came on as a guest to a triumphant ovation, even before he played a single note. Double bass duties it was then for the closing two tracks with Simone Butler, the band’s current bass player playing in perfect harmony with the ex-Stone Roses man.

And what a two tracks they were, Country Girl and Rocks were raucous, loud and victorious, the perfect brace to close out what was a largely fantastic gig. Just a shame about the dicks.

Musically, Screamadelica is a masterpiece, a true giant of an album and it was great to see it (and more) played live in Glasgow. Keep up to speed with Primal Scream via their website here.

 John Welsh



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