Hammersmith Apollo, London, 23/1/2004
published: 2 /
In London Primal Scream blast their way through a set to promote the release of their Greatest Hits album, 'Dirty Hits'. Olga Sladeckova gets her very own special dose of medication
There is a very busy 4 lane road right in front of the Hammersmith Apollo venue in South West London. It’s quite a challenge, therefore, to get as far the venue door - unless you want to use the subway. That would, however, be far too unrock n’ roll and tonight I definitely want to be rock n’ roll.
I race over the road and get through the venue door just before 9. Most of the fans are already inside the main concert hall. I get myself a drink from the shortest queue, which is unfortunately for beer only as I find out to my disappointment when I reach the till.
The venue is divided into 2 parts with stalls downstairs and seats upstairs. Luckily I ordered my ticket early enough to get downstairs. I get there exactly at the right time because the gig is about to start.
The hall rises up with people shouting and loudly welcoming Primal Scream. Bobby Gillespie, Andrew Innes, Robert Young, Mani (ex Stone Roses) and Kevin Shields come on to the huge stage in front of us. Bobby grabs the microphone and greets the audience back.
Tonight we are celebrating the release of the band's ‘Dirty Hits’ (Primal Scream's Greatest Hits CD for anyone who has not bought it yet…).
The sexy and seductive ‘Miss Lucifer’ from the band’s last studio album ‘Evil Heat’ opens tonight’s set. I quickly wade my way through the excited crowd towards the stage. There is a bunch of men standing down the front half naked and already wet with sweat. No wonder no one is standing right next to them.
Just a few feet away from the stage people are breathlessly squeezed against each other fighting for the best view. When Bobby announces ‘Shoot Speed/Kill Light’ they still however, manage to jump and down with excitement. The venue’s lights start to flash lots of different colours as if in protest against the song’s name. Combined with the music, it, however, all seems amazing to us.
‘Long Life’ is a very calm song and briefly almost mutes the fans. The lights turn blue with one white spotlight targeting Bobby who is tonight all dressed in black. The slow, stretched out sounds of the guitars make you feel lost as if you are drifting far away from real life.
Songs from Primal Scream's 7th album ‘Vanishing Point’ seem to be the most popular so far. ‘Burning Wheel’ starts with a slightly hesitant introduction that builds up and then explodes into a wild tune
“If you could see what I can see
Feel what I feel
When my head is on fire
When I’m burning wheel!!!”
sings Bobby while the fans dance to the song’s powerful rhythms. ‘Kill All Hippies’ and ‘Kowalski’, also from ‘Vanishing Point', are played next. Mani, who first joined Primal Scream for that album in 1996, is having no trouble playing his guitar, but also finds time to clap and to wave at the audience.
Kevin Shields, an amazing guitarist, best known for fronting My Bloody Valentine, seems stuck, as if he is still one of the maion players in the Shoegazing movement, somewhere in the early 90’s. He plays the guitar seemingly totally ignorant of what is going on around him. His body remains motionless throughout the gig and his eyes stare down at the floor. His guitar, however, rocks the venue and its storming sound unmistakenly makes him part of the present.
‘Screamadelica’s ‘Movin On Up’ has always sounded brilliant and tonight is no exception.
“I was blind, now I can see
You made a believer, out of me
I’m movin’ on up now
Gettin’ out of the darkness
My light shines on…”
the crowd sings together in one powerful voice, lead by Bobby and everyone with their hands clapping above their heads. The Apollo is shaken to it very base. ‘Rocks’ also carries the same impact.
It’s just after 10:15 when Primal Scream close their main set and with thanks leave the stage. There is no way they are going to get away with just that. They probably knew it a long way before the gig even started. After about 5 minutes of the audience shouting, clapping and whistling, the band return to their instruments. They certainly don’t seem disappointed to be back.
” Just what is it that you want to do?
We wanna be free
We wanna be free to do what we wanna do”
Those words come from ‘Loaded’, their next song. The monologue continues:
“And we wanna get loaded
And we wanna have a good time
That’s what we’re gonna do”
Bobby grabs 2 shakers and then parades along the front part of the stage. It makes you quite jealous of all the space he has to dance, but he is making the most of it.
‘Loaded’ is a mainly instrumental song but that allows more space for being creative. Into its middle, Primal Scream put in a snatch of the Rolling Stomes 'Sympathy for the Devil'
2 men behind me all of the sudden lift a third friend up on their shoulders, totally ignoring the security in front of the stage. Only after his mates run out of energy does he come down, unfortunately crashing straight onto on my back. ‘Jailbird’ meets with a similar commitment from the fans to the music.
The band make another attempt to leave the stage just before 10:30. Again the fans are not ready for it just yet and so the band return with ‘Medication’, the fans squeezing out the very last drops of their energy.
This is really it. The band are now definitely saying ‘good-bye'. They look far out into the auditorium before leaving the stage and absorb the ecstatic feeling coming from the crowd. Tonight we all got our special dose of medication called Primal Scream.
Have a Listen:-