London Brixton Academy, 7/12/2002
published: 16 /
Olga Sladeckova watches Primal Scream, out on the road to promote their new album 'Evil Heat', play an awe-inspiring set at London's Brixton Academy...
"Brixton! It's going to be the best ever. It's going to be real rock n' roll!"
Bobby Gillespie, November 2002
...and it was...
The Brixton Academy is a large, beautiful music venue with a capacity of 4500 people. The huge canopy above its entrance with its green lighting looks like something from a fairy tale. The fairy tale happened in South London on the Friday and Saturday night of the 6th and 7th December 2002. On those two nights the canopy carried the 2 words written in red 'PRIMAL SCREAM'.
Tonight it is the Saturday, and a long time ago the sold out venue started filling up. The security at the door are very busy. Primal Scream's fans have not turned up empty-handed either. I spot two female fans each carrying a bag big enough to hold a picnic set for two including a teapot. It makes you look around for a dog.
It's already 10 when my friend and I walk into the concert hall. The stage is still being prepared for the support band, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club. The auditorium is filled with people spread and gathered around the bars at the back of the hall like bees around honey.
BRMC come on to the stage just after 10:45. The fans are delighted. They respond with loud shouting and clapping as the band play their first song of the evening.
The bright lighting which appears only at the back of the stage stops us from seeing the musicians in much detail, but the shapes of their figures are clear on the big stage. "The Mary Chain!" I'm thinking looking from the back of the hall at their extravagant hairdos, and listening to their colourful music.
The promised "real rock n' roll" hits the stage 15 minutes after midnight. The 6 piece Primal Scream come on the stage to the accompaniment of overexcited shouting from the fans. The crowd shrinks to half its size. Everyone wants to be in the first row, no matter how impossible it may have seemed only a minute ago.
'Accelerator' is the first song we get treated to. The front rows manically jump up and down and scream already under the rule of dense tunes.
When it comes to 'Miss Lucifer', the second song in the set, which appears on the band's latest album 'Evil Heat', it is as if Brixton is on fire. Wild lighting and Bobby's wicked voice take away the fans out of their self-consciousness. The music, however, doesn't seem to be strong enough to fight its own space. It remains in the background.
There is certainly no lack of strength in the next song 'Rise'.
"A life or work is a life or crime,
You pay your taxes your serve your time,
All that money where does it go?
Schools, prisons, hospitals, roads?
Government funding of military science?"
Bobby preaches to the angry crowd and then follows it with the proclamation
"Rise, rise, rise, rise,..."
The fans can't resist and jump even higher and rise their arms above their heads. A tough bloke next to me unfortunately totally misunderstands the message and rises his arm against my head, but then is pushed away by other people around us.
Two of the older songs that the band plays tonight are 'Burning Wheel' and 'Kowalski' from 1997's 'Vanishing Point' album. Kevin Shields (formerly of My Bloody Valentine) is hidden from sight amidst the dry ice on the stage, but he makes his presence well felt as his guitar thickens the air.
'Rocks' plays an essential part in fulfilling fans' expectations. Bassist Andrew Innes and guitarist Robert Young are obviously both enjoying watching the fans'uncoordinated moves. Time and time again you spot a fan swimming on the hands of the crowd towards the stage, and then diving into the hands of security.
'Skull X' is played at the last song of the main set. It is assertive without being aggressive. At the end Bobby finishes the set triumphantly by raising his arm up towards the high ceiling, and then ripping his shirt wide open. The band then leaves the stage for the first time.
The worked up crowd won't accept that. "Loaded! Loaded!" the fans demand in one voice. The band are quite happy to return to their instruments and to give Brixton an extra shake.
Instead of 'Loaded' though we get 'Higher Then The Sun'. We hear the echoing heartbeat-like sound that opens the tune in the background, and then the music kicks in and builds up in power slowly.
'My brightest star my inner light let it guide me/ Amphetamine can open me and untie me" sings Bobby confidently even though he has just swopped the original lyrics of the tune around. Who cares? Who wants their life in order anyway ?
The song helps to calm people down, and 'Jailbird', from at the time unpopular album 'Give Out but Don't Give Up' album , follows next.
'Movin On Up' has been an anthem to Primal Scream since it first appeared on their classic 'Screamadelica' album in 1991. It is not missing from their set tonight.
"I was blind, now I can see
You made a believer, out of me
I was blind, now I can see
You made a believer, out of me
I'm movin' on up now! Out of the darkness... "
the whole crowd sings, shaking Brixton to it roots, as green and yellow lights shine up and down the whole hall.
The band attempts to leave the stage for a second time. Maybe they are just teasing us as it doesn't take much to get them on the big stage once again. 'Medication, much needed, follows. Mani (formerly of the Stone Roses) is playing his guitar as if for his life and laughs exchanging looks of victory with Bobby.
It's nearly 1:45 and Primal Scream start to play the very last song, a cover of the MC5's 'Kick Out The Jams'. Driven by the music, we gather together our last bit of strength and dance towards the end of this amazing adventure.
It's over. The band take a last look at the audience before walking off the stage, and leaving us for good.
' I love rock n' roll!'
Brixton Academy, London Dec. 7 Setlst
Main Set :
Shoot Speed Kill Light
Kill All Hippies
Higher Than The Sun
Movin' On Up
Encore 2 :
Kick Out The Jams
Have a Listen:-