Primal Scream


Touring in support of their greatest hits album Maximum Rock n Roll released earlier this year, the bar was already set high with anticipation for a gig fuelled with Primal Scream’s finest. Not that hearing a band’s latest album cuts is any less appealing, but there’s just something that makes you that extra bit giddy when you know your favourite band’s classic tunes are going to be blasting out all night.

In the confines of an overly full Albert Hall, a sweaty, packed crowd greets the indie Scots legends like returning musical heroes, after all they’ve been at this game for over thirty years. They launch into ‘Don’t Fight It Feel It’ and the industrial hurricane powerhouse that is ‘Swastika Eyes’ with Bobby Gillespie dressed impeccably as ever with skinny blue pants, silver shirt and hair flopping around doing his whirling dervish hippy dance throughout. There’s a cracking version of ‘Cry Myself Blind’ with guitarist Andrew Innes providing the sweet bluesy riffs and Martin Duffy on keyboards adding extra depth. Primal Scream have soundtracked a huge part of my life, from hearing Screamadelica in my youth to providing the indie disco anthems I’ve danced my socks off to over the years, so it is great to see them deliver one classic tune after another.

Gillespie recalls the early days gigging here at long gone venues in the city, such as The International in 1987, and The Boardwalk in 1989, before giving us a rarely played classic from 1986 ‘Velocity Girl’, then it’s back to the rock n roll swagger of ‘Dolls (Sweet Rock N Roll)’ with mass singalongs during the chorus, Gillespie pointing the mic in our direction for added volume. Bassist Simone Butler dances around the stage adding the deep bass lines which groove along effortlessly during ‘Loaded’ and ‘Movin’ On Up’, ably backed by the danceable beats of Darrin Mooney on drums.

The venue is so packed there is hardly any room to dance, and even trying to put an arm in the air risks scraping the head of the person in front of you, but the amassed crowd bounce along to every song. I mean, what are you gonna do, it’s Primal Scream playing their biggest hits! Apart from the group of girls stood next to us who are chatting about what Laura in marketing had said to Carl in sales at that day’s meeting and how it would affect future strategies, than they’d clap after the song they’d completely missed and ruined for everyone around them! It is hard to stay tight lipped – either focus on the band or f’ off! Not letting them spoil any further tunes we ease forward even more, in time for a truly glorious version of ‘Country Girl’, and a blissfully mesmerising version of ‘Come Together’. As if things couldn’t get any better, bounding on to the stage comes Johnny Marr to join them for astoundingly brilliant versions of ‘Jailbird’ and ‘Rocks’ with him and Innes trading riffs throughout, and the whole place going berserk. I’ve seen this band loads over the years, in various incarnations, but tonight surpassed all expectations. A truly memorable gig from the indie legends.

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From the early days of creating handmade zines, in a DIY paper and glue style, interviewing bands around town, then pestering Piccadilly Records to sell them, to writing for various independent mags such as Chimp and Ablaze, writing about the music I love is still a great passion. After testing the music industry waters in London with stints at various labels, being back in my hometown again, writing about this city’s vibrant music scene is as exciting as ever. All time favourite bands include Sonic Youth, Nick Cave, Patti Smith although anything from electro to folk via blues and pysch rock will also do nicely too. A great album, is simply a great album, regardless of whatever musical cage you put it in.