Viola Beach’s name will always be synonymous with tragedy, but at least now we have a document of who this band were
Primal Scream: Astoria, London: Thursday April 6
Prepare to get your rocks off, get your rocks off, honey – Bobby Gillespie’s in the mood to party and you’re all invited
Mani grins as Bobby throws an arm around his neck, guitars are raised above heads and walks become struts. The sniggers of the cynics may be louder than ever, but tonight Primal Scream look and sound like they’re having the time of their lives. Tellingly, when they do dip into the more sonically challenging areas of their back catalogue, the Scream feel like a completely different band. The strobes are set to mindfuck, with ‘Kowalski’’s distorted dub and the fearsome feedback disco of ‘Swastika Eyes’ becoming sense-assaulting journeys into the void. Awesome though these moments are, in truth they sorely miss the noise symphonies of the now-departed Kevin Shields and feel like interludes to what tonight is clearly all about: no-nonsense dumb rock’n’roll fun. Proof of this comes firstly in their cover of ’60s psychedelic loonies The 13th Floor Elevators’ ‘Slip Inside This House’, a song that they reinvented way back on 1991’s classic ‘Screamadelica’ album as an acid house track, but on which tonight they stick closely to the garage rock original, and secondly in the fact that the only other song that survives from that era is the gospel-tinged euphoria of ‘Movin’ On Up’ which, although one of their finest ever moments, is not one of their most forward-thinking.
Really, that the encore consists of second versions of ‘Country Girl’ and that pinnacle-of-stoopidness ‘Rocks’ says it all. This is a band who (maybe only for now – who knows?) are tired of fighting, done with experimenting and are putting their faith in the party-startin’ music closest to their hearts. It may only be rock’n’roll, but hey honey/sugar/darlin’/sister: Primal Scream sure as hell do like it.
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