On a bitterly cold Wednesday evening, Brixton Academy was the venue for Primal Scream to strut their stuff. They’re a band older than myself and could probably be forgiven for resting on the laurels somewhat. Based on the strength of their 10th studio album however, that’s not part of the plan.
They immediately launched into a couple of newbies. ‘2013’ is a fantastic assault on modern society – “21st century slaves, a peasant underclass, how long will this shit last?” – that makes reference to a teenage revolution, culminating in a plea to “open your eyes”. Next up is ‘Hit Void’, a noisy stompalong with a similar revolutionary theme. It’s comforting to hear they’ve retained their anti-establishment edge after so long. Over 30 years down the line, PS are still as relevant as they’ve ever been.
Despite the quality of the new material, it’s clearly the older stuff that most excited the crowd. ‘Jailbird’ and the heavy bass of ‘Shoot Speed/ Kill Light’ got people moving early on, and things got really cranky when they dropped ‘Swastika Eyes’ towards the end. The live version includes backing sirens, making it sound like a soundtrack to a riot. This intensity didn’t let up as the main set concluded with ‘Country Girl’ and ‘Rocks’.
After a brief respite, PS returned and treated us to a Screamadelica medley to close the show. By the time the familiar intro to ‘Loaded’ rang around the venue, the party had long been in full swing. Before a finale of ‘Movin’ on up’, the chorus for ‘Come Together’ was received as enthusiastically as always. It’s hard to imagine a stronger trio of songs to close a gig.
After Mani upped and left for the Stone Roses reunion, PS were faced with the unenviable task of finding a replacement. It’s fair to say that Simone Butler was plucked from obscurity, but she’s managed to slide in seamlessly. She exudes a cool that makes her a perfect fit – it’s doubtful that Mani would look as good in leather trousers! Frontman Bobby Gillespie was his usual self, waifishly exploring the stage and dancing in a way no-one else can quite pull off. It’s doubtful also that anyone else on the planet could still look cool in a shiny silver shirt. Quite simply a rock and roll legend!
In short, another great gig from one of the best live bands on the circuit. Their classics have stood the test of time, and their more recent material adds quality to an already bustling catalogue. Based on this evening’s evidence, there’s plenty more to come from these guys.
Shoot Speed/Kill Light
River of Pain
Walking with the Beast
Turn Each Other Inside Out
It’s Alright, It’s OK
I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have
Movin’ On Up
Picture credit Chiara Meattelli ( @londana )