Sunday, September 13, 2009

Primal Scream live in Melbourne

Venue: The Billboard Club
Date: 08/02/09

“Melbourne’s mad for it, man – This place is like the Manchester of Australia!” High praise indeed from a true Manc legend, bassist Gary 'Mani' Mounfield, who in another life gave Stone Roses their signature sound and was courted by Oasis after the Roses demise in 1996. A man who’s boyhood dream was to become a chef, is now frying audiences minds as part of one of the most exciting/terrifying live bands to hit town in a long time. Pre-show, Mani is truly bursting to play tonight for a crowd who have probably been recovering for the last 9 years since Primal Scream last ‘did Melbourne’.

Tripping back to the 2000 Big Day Out, singer Bobby Gillespie kicked off the show with the single expression “Hey we’re gonna fuck yer!” before assaulting the crowd for 2 hours with the dense, heavy electronica of then current album XTRMNTR. Tonight, is the darker sequel. Although the bands’ most recent output has been less heavy and more song based, in the show, they arm each of the tracks with power-drills designed to penetrate the skull. The only light relief comes with the dreamy Higher Than The Sun from 1991’s breakthrough Screamadelica album. Before this single moment to breathe we are pummelled with incredible renditions of Kill All Hippies, Swastika Eyes and Miss Lucifer from their intense electro-metal phase. There’s no stopping between songs to tune up, or down either for this band, who crisply nail each song to the end of the previous one in an expertly managed unbroken flow.

The set is more or less a best of mix up, but with the criminal exception of favourites Loaded and Come Together. It’s hard to be picky over such things though when they deliver the meaty, funkified Jailbird, putting an instant end to the non-dancing that’s been prevalent tonight. It’s the stomp, and sing-it-back moment of the night: “I’m yours, your mine, gimme more of that jailbird pie!!” Who cares what it means, it just sounds fantastic. Meanwhile the room is awash in spectacular coloured lights, centre pieced with a single green laser light which act as fine embellishments to the mesmerising sound of the band reaching a critical pace.

The much loved Screamadelica album gets revisited with the stunning Shine Like Stars. This is a glimpse of the freelovin’ psychedelic Primal Scream who were put to bed many years ago in favour of the demon conjuring fuzz metal band of the 1999-2004 era. Martin Duffy's keyboard forces it’s way through the din with thick pulsing sonic squelches that rang in my ears long after the concert ended. Gillespie’s singing is suddenly louder and distorting as he tries to compete with the looping frenetic sample. The people at the front are all clapping in time, arms aloft. We’re now drenched in that spiralling laser light, as it broadens to fill the room, turning our view of the stage into a gorgeous neon tunnel with Primal Scream at the centre, enticing us into their crazy world. The goose bumps are set to remain as the rapid kick drum intro to Rocks lifts the whole room. Bobby’s in our ears, “Are you ready to get your rocks off Melbourne?!” We were, alright. Greatest party song, EVER. It feels like the end is coming. We sing/scream our appreciation through the chorus of Rocks and keep the love going as they leave the stage giving us our second moment to breathe. Then the encore, which nothing could have prepared us for. XTRMNTR album track, Accelerator screamed into life and fell upon us, heavy and sickening. The weight and power of this monstrous track will stay in our brains long after the show. The final kick came as Mani dropped his bass against his unnaturally huge amp, and shouts into Bobby’s mic, “Thanks Melbourne yoo fookin’ rock. Mad for it!” Leaving us with deafening feedback.

As the occasional light hits peoples faces, there’s a mix of shock and disbelief as we look around to readjust our eyes and our senses. I felt like my central nervous system had been ripped out and stuffed back in wrong way round. A wholly satisfying experience.


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