Review and Photography by Jonathan Taylor
To celebrate the release of their second greatest hits album ‘Maximum Rock ‘N’ Roll’, Scottish outfit Primal Scream embark on an extensive 19 date UK tour. Tonight’s stop is the Albert Hall in Manchester. Originally built as a Methodist hall in 1908, the Albert Hall is an incredibly impressive venue for a night of high energy Rock and Roll and when it comes to high energy Rock and Roll, Primal Scream need no introduction.
As the lights dim and the opening keyboard notes of Balearic, house inspired ‘Don’t Fight It, Feel It’ cascade out of the speakers, the packed venue erupts into the a wave of appreciation. The silhouettes of Bobby Gillespie and his fellow band members take to the stage and ‘Don’t Fight, Feel It’ continues with a more blues inspired take on the original. ‘Swastika Eyes’ is up next and catapults proceedings very early on into an intensity that is usually seen at the latter stages of a set. Gillespie, who is dressed in a glittery blue suit, sparkles in the lights as he whips around the stage with equal intensity. The high velocity continues with ‘Miss Lucifer’ and Gillespie continues to dominate the stage and snarls into the microphone. Synth inspired Rock and Roll ‘Can’t Go Back’ is followed by the wonderfully chaotic ‘Accelerator’. Further outings for tracks off 2000 release XTRMNTR keep the energy levels propelled with ‘Kill All Hippies’. It is a perfect fusion of trance inspired, breakbeat Rock and Roll and is an absolute masterpiece that only Primal Scream could conjure up from the realms of possibility.
The intensity levels plummet and the crowd are treated to ‘Cry Myself Blind’ from 1994 release ‘Give Out But Don’t Give Up’. It is a beautiful slice of down tempo, heart felt Rock and Roll that showcases the tender vocal delivery of the Primal Scream front man. The crowd are transported back to 1989 with ‘I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have’ taken from Primal Scream’s second album and the crowd cheers in appreciation as Bobby Gillespie dedicates ‘Velocity Girl’ to Manchester icons The Stone Roses.
The set continues with ‘Dolls’, ‘Burning Wheel’ and ‘100% or Nothing’. The big hitters from acid-house inspired album Screamadelica get the best response of the night and the crowd breaks into cheers of appreciation as the opening sample of ‘Loaded’ blares through the speakers. It’s a wonderful site to behold as the packed venue of revellers, most of which are old enough to remember the significance of this song and the era defining album ‘Screamadelica’ first time around, sway in unison with arms aloft. ‘Movin’ On Up’ sees the crowd continue to revel in 90’s nostalgia and its chorus sees the biggest sing along of the night. It’s a perfect demonstration of the power of music and the sense of unity, solidarity and togetherness it can bring when a crowd of like-minded individuals fill a room together.
The encore of the night will no doubt be a moment that will remain in everyone’s musical memory bank. Not only did the crowd get another psychedelic acid-house anthem in the form of ‘Come Together’, a sweat soaked Gillespie invites Manchester legend Johnny Marr onto the stage as Primal Scream bring the evening to a close and smash it out of the park with ‘Jailbird’ and ‘Rocks’. A truly monumental end to an incredible evening of music.
Throughout their musical career, Primal Scream have always continued to evolve and experiment musically. It has been a constant journey of exploring new perspectives and musical directions. They have pushed boundaries, but have always kept the traditions of Rock and Roll the primary focus and foundation of their music. Tonight’s journey through the musical tapestry of their back catalogue demonstrated this evolvement and experimentation. It was an incredible journey of music and proved without question that Primal Scream are one of the most cherished UK acts of recent decades.