Live Rooms, Chester, 12/9/2021
published: 7 /
Indie pop progenitors The Primitives roll back the years with a career-scanning set delivered in breathless fashion. Richard Lewis reviews
As befits a band whose songs barely break the three-minute barrier, The Primitives take a punctual attitude to time keeping. Onstage a shade before their scheduled 9 p.m. start time, several decades on the gig circuit has done nothing to slow the pace of the indie pop progenitors live sets. Firing up the arpeggiated riff that underpins ‘I’ll Stick With You’ and moving straight on to ‘Thru The Flowers’ after it, the quartet deliver the entire twenty song, hour long set barely pausing for breath.
Surely two of the best 45s of the mid 1980s indie era, ‘Stop Killing Me’ and ‘Sick Of It’ showcase that the Primitives’ founding principles of guitarist Paul Court’s punked up jangle, Tracy Tracy’s seemingly effortless vocals and innate melodic wherewithal have served them in excellent style. Sat behind a swirly patterned kit Tig Williams provides the motor for the tracks with former producer Paul Sampson supplying foundation basslines.
Revving up the noise pop element early landmark ‘Really Stupid’ from the band’s salad days sounds like something that could have been issued last week, while thunderous rendition of ‘Spacehead’ showcases the Primitives’ more abrasive side from the era when they were treading the boards alongside The Jesus and Mary Chain and My Bloody Valentine on the gig circuit.
Dream pop sliver ‘I’ll Trust the Wind’ from the group’s most recent release, 2017 EP ‘New Thrills’ slots comfortably into the set alongside the spidery riff of ‘Buzz Buzz Buzz’ and an ethereal rendition of ‘Empathise’ played on acoustic.
A Teflon-coated pop song powerful enough to withstand any number of iffy cover versions – no names mentioned – ‘Crash’ provokes the loudest audience chorus of the night. The summit of the group’s career commercially the track remains the template any number of indie pop bands seek to emulate to this day.
Aside from the usual music journalist gripe certain songs weren’t included (c’mon, they can’t play everything. can they?) there isn’t a single low point in the set. Sadly however, the group have announced on social media that aside from several festival dates next year this present jaunt is to be their final UK tour, a crying shame on this evidence. Is there any chance of a thirty fifth anniversary tour in 2023 to celebrate the release of overlooked classic debut LP ‘Lovely’? (Please?)
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