Here’s a reprint of my Primal Scream review that’s in this fortnight’s Hot Press (as well as on the web).
THE VENUE, DERRY
As Derry’s year-long City of Culture celebrations continue to gather pace, it’s perhaps not surprising that organisers opted to ask Primal Scream (AKA one of the greatest party bands on the planet) to help end March with a bang. No stranger to the odd hootenanny or three myself, your humble Hot Press reviewer has made the trip up to the north-west too and as soon as I step inside the newly erected Venue (which is a cool, igloo-like structure that resembles the Iceberg Lounge in Gotham City) there’s a palpable sense of excitement among the thousands in attendance. Of course, who can blame them as this evening we’re getting to see something special as the band are set to air at least a handful of exclusive cuts from their as yet unreleased David Holmes produced tenth album More Light.
Shambling onstage at the stroke of half nine (being punctual can be roll ‘n’ roll too, kids) frontman Bobby Gillespie greets us all in his own imitable fashion (“Let’s fuckin’ have it!”) before starting things off with the brand new ‘2013’ and it’s an absolute belter. Sounding a little like Quadrophenia-era Who, the song features some ace E Street-band-esque sax and it’s a soul-infused, space rock classic in the making. The beat-heavy ‘Swastika Eyes’ and the “are they playing this already?” ‘Movin’ On Up’ keep things cooking nicely and the band are clearly keen to kick off the latest album campaign in style.
As fun as it is hearing songs from the now iconic Screamadelica, personally this writer is more intrigued by what they’re currently doing with producer David Holmes and while the epic newie ‘Relativity’ won’t break the music world in half, their up-coming single ‘It’s OK, It’s Aright’ could very well be one of the biggest tracks in their career. A swaggering, rock ‘n roll number which comes complete with a Ronnie Lane-robbing “oooh la la” refrain, Bobby looks suitably chuffed with himself after they finish it, and quite rightly too. “That’s a stone cold classic that could make a blind man see and a dead man walk,” he declares cockily, before treating us to another tune off More Light called ‘Culturecide.’
Dedicated to Holmes, who warmed the crowd up earlier with a DJ set, the track is a dense, typically bug-eyed effort from Primal Scream that’s heavy with hip hop and Blaxploitation influences and it’s a dark number that confuses the crowd a little. Ever the canny frontman though, the singer lifts things with the gospel-tinged ‘Come Together’ and the cow punk favourite ‘Country Girl,’ while repeating the phrase “ ‘MONNN DURRRRRRRRAY” ad infinitum (which for those of you who aren’t fluent in Bobby Gillespie, roughly translates to “let’s all have a wonderful time, Derry”) and before we know it, it’s all over.
But not before we hear an encore filled with Scream classics like ‘Loaded,’ ‘Jailbird’ and ‘Rocks’ to send the faithful home happy and they’re a hat trick of songs which prove that the band did much more than take a boatload of drugs over their 30 year existence. In fact, contrary to most acts, Bobby and the boys (and lady bassist) only seem to get better with age and judging by what we’ve heard tonight, album number ten will be up there with their best.