Primal Scream: Brighton Centre

The best live band on the planet? Oh yes...

The Jam’s farewell show in 1982. Oasis and The La’s, Christmas 1994. Brighton Centre, despite resembling an oversized school sports hall, has a past, a rich rock ‘n’ roll history. And, tonight, as time-honoured tradition dictates, Primal Scream tear the fucking [I]roof[/I] off the place.

Not that we expect anything less. Y2K has been the year where the Primals have finally left behind the ill-advised and embarrassing air of debauched idolatry for good. Bobby doesn’t wanna be Keef or Iggy any more (Only ‘Rocks’ is lifted from 1994’s miserable ’70s period piece ‘Give Out But Don’t Give Up’). ‘Xtrmntr’ is the real deal, and the way the Scream obliterate minds tonight with a set drawn largely from this pivotal album and the dark shades of 1997’s ‘Vanishing Point’ clearly indicate they think so too. They’re not playing at being stars anymore, it’s about the music, which is, of course, how it should be. Maybe it’s the leftist agenda at the heart of ‘Xtrmntr’ – it”s clear that these highly-politicised songs have given Primal Scream a new sense of purpose, as if the message in the music is now so important that the need to disseminate this information is much more vital than playing the strung-out, wasted, nothing-to-say card.

The likes of ‘Exterminator’ and the incendiary ‘Accelerator’ are driven along by Mani’s pummelling bass, while the astonishing Kevin Shields launches sonic blitzkriegs from his guitar while barely moving a muscle, especially during the pulsating mantra that is ‘Shoot Speed Kill Light’. Now [I]that[/I]’s cool.

There [I]are[/I] concessions to the past, but by god they’re glorious. The aforementioned ‘Rocks’ is a welcome break from the unrelenting assault on the senses, while an encore double-whammy of the rarely-played-live ‘Loaded’ and a joyous ‘Movin’ On Up’ prove that these boys can still provide a great (political) party soundtrack. Even Bobby, who doesn’t say much at all tonight, looks like he’s enjoying himself by now, dancing as only he can, shaking a maraca here and there. But he’s doing everything with a sense of purpose, like he truly believes in himself and his band.

They’re no lame caricature any more, and there’s no stopping them now. The best live band on the planet? Oh yes.

Alan Woodhouse