(Gig of a Lifetime) Princess Charlotte, Leicester, September 1989
published: 6 /
In our 'Gig of a Lifetime' series, Jon Rogers recalls attending a terrible Primal Scream gig in Leicester in 1989
For far too long now writers have been banging on about just why some band was utterly fantastic when they saw them, and some gigs this scribe has been to will remain in my mind - far too many in fact to list here - but certainly one rises above all the others but for all the wrong reasons. Primal Scream, before they were famous, getting hot and sweaty at the now defunct Princess Charlotte in Leicester.
As the cliché has it though, context is everything. At the time Bobby Gillespie had left the Jesus and Mary Chain and formed his own band of hopefuls, scoring something of a C86 anthem with 'Velocity Girl' and being typical indie kids with the 1987 album 'Sonic Flower Groove' packed fully of 60's style and references, paisley shirts and a mellow, jangly vibe.
And I lapped it all up, hook, line and sinker. So, when after the album came out and the chance presented itself to go and see them live a ticket soon materialised in my hand - along with my friends.
So, fast forward to the gig...There we all were, our sensitive, teenage selves, all bedecked in our finest trippy shirts and shit...But what were all those greasy, leathered-up biker boy types being rowdy down the front and drinking pints of real ale doing here?
Not to mention that said venue is hardly the place for a performance of sensitive indie music. For anyone that never had the pleasure, the Princess Charlotte venue was the backroom of some shitty pub (aka public toilet) that probably thought CBGB's was a posh, upmarket establishment.
Despite the warning signs my naive self never really picked them up - I was far too excited. Well, until they came on.
Our 'Sonic Flower' children had metamorphosised into some ugly, greasy caterpillar - a gawd-awful heavy rock tribute act, obsessed with the likes of MC5, the worst songs of the Stooges and a smacked-out Rolling Stones. The rest was really all a blur of leather, sweaty, cock-sure, clichéd rock posturing and an outpouring of musical sludge that lacked any sort of charm or sophistication. Terrible. No hint of their C86 origins, no taste of Gillespie's time with the Mary Chain and certainly no hint of the indie-dance gods they would become. It was meat-and-potato, greasy rawk from start to finish.
Needless to say, it was utterly awful.