In the mid to late 90s I must’ve seen just about every indie band going, but for some unknown reason I had never managed to catch Primal Scream live. This gig at Manchester Academy, their last of the year, showed me just what I’d been missing.
Bobby Gillespie was compelling. A heady mix of Jagger, Morrison and Bowie, he has an effortless command of the stage. Where Liam Gallagher prowls around with an underlying air of aggression and threat, Gillespie has a wide-eyed joy about him. Where Gallagher is all forced attitude, Gillespie has a natural magnetism, and he worked the crowd beautifully.
They kicked things off with the heavily psychedelic 2013, the opener from this year’s More Light album – it was electrifying. The set progressed through Hit Void into the classic Jailbird with Gillespie weaving his magic, making sure the crowd was coming along for the ride. A central section of slower, more chilled numbers calmed things down for a while, before they launched into this year’s single It’s Alright, It’s OK. “Check out the video for this one – it’s got loads of beautiful young boys and transvestites in it. It’s gear.” – I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard anyone other than Gillespie use ‘gear’ as an adjective, but if anything could be described as ‘gear’ then it’s this tune. Soulful and as Primal Scream-like as you are likely to hear, it’s all Hammond organ, tambourine and ooh-la-las.
The classics then came thick and fast, with a rip-roaring Country Girl making way for the mighty Rocks, and encores of I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have, Loaded, a stirring Come Together and Movin’ On Up. For a band now in their fourth decade of performance (they formed waaay back in 1982), they sounded as fresh as ever.
Review and photos by Chris Payne
Where: Manchester Academy
When: Dec 2013
More info: http://www.primalscream.net/
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