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White Noise: Primal Scream present Screamadelica live at the O2 Birmingham Review – 15/3/2011

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Primal Scream present Screamadelica live at the O2 Birmingham Review – 15/3/2011

Screamadelica is an album that defined a moment in time; the window in the early nineties where rave and acid house where coming into the mainstream (so mainstream, in fact, that they received the first ever Mercury Prize for this album, but they were too fucked to perform at the ceremony and lost the award on the way home). Primal Scream are not a particularly great band, but this album is phenomenal and has been a personal favourite of mine since I first heard it.

So when Bobby Gillespie finally leapt on stage looking like the junkie you'd always pictured him to be, just in a sharp suit, I went wild. He wasn't chatty and the band immediately launched into opener Movin' On Up and played through the whole album start to finish. The two Higher Than The Sun tracks on either side of the album were played as one symphonic stretch that was wonderful to behold, and the one-two punch of 'Loaded' and 'Come Together' had the whole crowd singing and dancing.

The sound had some issues; the percussion was turned up too loud and it drowned out the vocals on several of the more dancey tracks, and as everyone was dancing the slightly poor sequencing of so many slow songs in a row (as brilliant as Damaged and I'm Coming Down are) didn't make sense, the crowd just became a bit lost.

Added to this is the unfortunate factor of time. The band members aren't exactly young, and while there is still an energy to them, they didn't quite succeed in making their sound as fresh and subtle as it is on the album; partly the re-arrangement and partly the sound problems left some of the more interesting pieces musically such as Inner Flight and Slip Inside This House sounding too flat and rock-y.

Despite these problems, it was an energetic gig with an enthusiastic crowd and there were a few brilliant touches; the gospel singer came centre stage for her classic role on the great track Don't Fight It, Feel It and the visuals at the back were appropriately trippy, eyeballs morphing into spirals before our eyes. I went to this gig of course because I loved the music, but also to get a glimpse of a period of music history which has sadly now passed, and although it wasn't the best gig technically it was an absolutely unforgettable experience of a band who shaped part of music history.


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