Primal Scream's Bobby Gillespie: 'Festivals are like shopping malls these days'

The Primal Scream singer also explained his frustrations over the band's recent Glastonbury performance

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Primal Scream frontman Bobby Gillespie has expressed disdain over the unadventurous nature of modern festivals, saying that "sometimes it feels that festivals are like shopping malls".

Speaking before the band’s headline gig at Kendal Calling last weekend (which Gillespie praised, alongside other, smaller festivals, for "being more daring” with their line-up), the singer went on to explain his shopping analogy.

He said: "To me when I think of festivals, I think of the late '60s and '70s and I always imagine that bands were allowed to express themselves a little bit more. Sometimes it feels now that festivals are like shopping malls. People just want the brands. They want Adidas, TK Maxx, they want Yo Sushi. They want what they know from the brand, they don’t want anything different."

"To me festivals should be places where you experiment and challenge people a bit and not just play your greatest hits," Gillespie continued. "I’m coming from a more experimental, art punk background so I like to be challenged. I want to hear the hits too, but I like it when people do something a bit out of the ordinary and take you somewhere else. We wouldn’t play songs like 'Tenement Kid' or 'River of Pain' live if we didn’t think we were giving something good to the audience. You’ve got to keep it exciting for yourself and take risks. The problem is a lot of people are too scared to take risks and it shows in their music."

Gillespie then went on to talk about Primal Scream’s recent Glastonbury gig, where they played the Pyramid Stage directly before The Rolling Stones’ Saturday headline slot. Having appeared distinctly frustrated at the crowd’s lack of energy during material taken from highly-politicised new album 'More Light’, the singer explained that the distance between the stage and the crowd meant he "couldn't tell if we were connecting or not".

"We were quite far away from the audience, about 50 ft or something. It was too far away. I couldn't tell if we were connecting or not," he said. "But we had to play those songs [from 'More Light']. It’s hard with Glastonbury as well… it’s a different audience from other festivals. In a good way? I don’t know. I think our gig was good at Glastonbury and we won people over in the end. There's no way we were going to go on and just play a bunch of songs everybody knew. We try and make a challenging set. Art and rock'n'roll – mix it."

Primal Scream recently announced a short UK tour in support of 'More Light', set for this December. The Scottish quintet will play London’s Brixton Academy (11) and Glasgow SECC (14) before finishing at Manchester Academy (15).

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