London Shepherd's Bush Empire, 19/6/2002
published: 11 /
With their sixth album 'Evil Heat' on the way at the end of July, Olga Sladeckova watches her favourite band of all time, Primal Scream, play an "amazing live show" at London Shepherd’s Bush Empire
God! There is no easy way of introducing a confident live performance by a band which have created, for me anyway, the best songs ever written . Maybe it is is just best to simply to say then that the six piece Scottish group Primal Scream, fronted by the ever-original Bobby Gillespie, played an amazing live show at the London venue, the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, on the 19th June. Pennyblackmusic wouldn’t have dared to miss such a great performance.
Trying to reach the venue this Wednesday evening proves to be a bit of a challenge as there is a very busy road right in front of the theatre, but most of the ticket holders and fans don't pay attention to the cars and the double-deckers shooting by. and gracefully drift across the road dodging in and out of the traffic
There is no queue at the door ,but only because it's 8:45 already, and most of the fans have already gone in. So, let’s walk down the stairs to join them. People occupy the entire ground floor and the two levels of balconies above it. The bar is relatively quiet at the moment , but there is a reason for that which will be explained later. It seems that Primal Scream have attracted the attention of fans all ages, beginning with those in their early 20’s, and stretching up to those in their 40’s who have been with the band since it first formed in the mid 1980’s.
Squeezing through the audience on the ground level towards the stage, I notice that the fans must have already spent all their money on drinks as quite a few of them unashamedly hold 2 bottles of beer in their hands, and in some cases have a third one jammed in their pocket to avoid making more trips up to the bar. Drinking is fortunately preoccupying them enough, so that I can manage to get past them and nearly to the stage for the best view.. althoug ,this results ilater n some painful bruises. Japanese fans dominate the front rows, but their child-like enthusiasm is such that you wouldn’t dream of trying to get past them. Not before the gig starts anyway.
It's nearly 9 and the stage staff has finished checking, rechecking and rerechecking the equipment, and the fans are beginning to get impatient. This tension gets even worse when a well-built man in a black T-shirt starts decorating the stage with drinks for the band. This might sound like a very easy and simple job to do ,but it's taking ages. First to come are cans of Kronenbourg 1664, and this is followed by coke and then water, no other kind of course than ‘Scottish Highlands Spring Water’. The drinks’ show ifinally finishes at last after about 10 minutes when a final vodka with orange is placed majestically placed on a speaker in the centre of the stage.
9:15 has passed and the audience has become very unsatisfied with waiting now and starts screaming for Primal Scream, when the band at last walk up onto the stage. Bobby, dressed in a white jacket, fronts them and waving greets the audience who have gone mad with excitement. and have started pushing their way their way towards the stage, squeezing all those nice Japanese kids breathlessly up agasinst the crush barrier. That moment, however, fortunately passes with the first tones of the first song 'Miss Lucifer', which is one of tracks from the Scream’s seventh album ‘Evil Heat’ which is due out in July..
Fans , not knowing the song, have become a little more refrained, but that certainly doesn't affect the band's performance. As Bobby sings, he keeps scanning and checking the audience, and is obviously enjoying the atmosphere of the completely full venue.
Another euphoric burst of enthusiasm sweeps over the Shepherd’s Bush Empire as 'Sick City' and 'Shoot Speed' from ‘Exterminator’ are played and all the lights are switched on, revealing the audience as they danci to these more familiar tunes.
Kevin Shields, the former singer and guitarist with My Bloody Valentine who joined the band in 2000, looks a bit lost on the stage as he holds on to his guitar and breaks in from time to time with occasional strong-minded instrumentals. Mani, the former guitarist with the Stone Roses, meanwhile appears in contrast absolutely overjoyed with the whole experience and keeps laughing to himself.
When it comes to the 6th song, 'Burning Wheel'’ from the “Vanishing Point’ album, and the audience recognize it from the first tones they are loudly delighted. You can just close your eyes and take off into the soul of Primal Scream. "If you could see what I can see/ Feel what I feel/When my head is on fire/When I'm a burning wheel." Bobby sings. We all burn in euphoric agony. Bobby loses himself in the music completely and starts dancing and jumping around in the happy way which only he can
'Long Life', the last track on “Vanishing Point’, is for change a slow song and fits well in the set, helping to calm down the audience. Its sound could be described as 'out of tune' and 'uncharacteristic' but , once you get inside of it, there is a lot to it. The simple lyric delivering the message 'Good to be alive' sounds perfect to all of us from the first moment as we swing slowly along with its rhythm .
After that the group introduces another song form 'Evil Heat' called 'Autobahn 66'. Bass guitarist, Robert Young, moves up to the microphone now and sings backing vocals for the song with Bobby. The applause and screaming that follows it is the best proof that the new album is definitely something to look forward to.
Now it's really time to rock the Shepherd’s Bush Empire and give it proper ‘Medication’ Everybody knows the bridge of this song from ‘Vanishing Point’ and the crowd jumps around uncoordinatedly, singing in one voice along with the band. "I don't wanna hang around with you/ Don't wanna see you burn/ Don't wanna see you turn blue/I wanna see the sun/Gimme, gimme, gimme medication /Gimme medication to kill this hole." The two balconies above the ground floor are overloaded with people who are dancing in the aisles. The following song is 'Swastika Eyes'. Its assertive attitude has an explosive effect on the fans who have definitely signed their souls over the band by now.
“The next song is called 'Rock'” announces Bobby victoriously over his pliable fans as we just carry on in our euphoric mania. A blonde girl in the centre of the ground floor’s crowd can no longer resist the excitement and climbs up on her friend's shoulders taking her t-shirt off which is enthusiastically welcomed by the male part of the fans, including Bobby who points at her so that nobody misses it. ‘Accelerator’ is officially the last song of the concert, and has the band creating dense textured music which they spin out to finish the show.
The set is finally closed shorly after 10:15 when the Screams thank to their faithful fans and leave the stage.
Okay! Good try but we won't let them and wringing our clothes with sweat ,demand an encore. 'Primal Scream! Bobby! Loaded!' People demand iwithout any sense of explanation or order. Having given such a great performance up until now , the Screams must have counted on it and unresistingly approach the stage again.
Mani grabs Bobby's microphone and laughing asks “Are you having a good time?!”, a question that is very often asked at concerts by Bobby. 'Kill All Hippies' kicks off this musical bonus, and fans start dancing again straightaway.
The group saves a very special treat for the next two two songs, 'Born To Loose' and 'Detroit'. The Jesus & Mary Chain former guitarist and singer, Jim Reid, who now fronts Freeheat, joins the band and adds his voice to tonight’s great performance. What a great set of musicians! Kevin Shields, from My Bloody Valentine, Gary 'Mani' Mountfield, formerly of The Stone Roses, and Robert Young and rhythym guitarist Andrew Innes. The crowd breathlessly enjoys this moment of absolute experience.
Jim waves and thanks to the audience and the band, hugs Bobby and walks off the stage to leave Primal Scream to close the concert with 'Skull X', one more song form the new album. When this song finishes the musicians thanks us again for coming and leave the stage. Bobby stays staring into the audience, sucking up all their energy and excitement , and then in two words describes the whole of tonight’s adventure “F**king beautiful!” he says in all honesty before waving at the audience one last time and also leaving the stage for good.
The photos that accompany this article were taken by Trev at www.retoxed.com who runs a Freeheat/jesus and Mary Chain website. Thank you to him for lending Pennyblackmusic these photos
Primal Scream Set List
Kill All Hippies
Born To Loose
Have a Listen:-