Primal Scream: Dublin Point

Primal Scream: Dublin Point

Primal Scream's Dublin show puts the Xmas in 'Xterminatorf'

At the end of the day, popularity and critical acclaim operate on completely different spirals and tonight was a reminder of exactly which loop Primal Scream are caught in. The assembled throng, here to celebrate the band who’ll hopefully put the X in Xmas, find themselves wandering around a half empty venue that fails to ignite the incendiary dreams of the Scream’s vitriolic ‘Xtrmntr’ set. It’s almost an anticlimax before it begins.

That said, tonight doesn’t fall flat without the best endeavours of the Scream Team to rip this party up. ‘Swastika Eyes’, although far from an ‘Xtrmntr’ highlight, opens the show at a frantic pace. Bobby Gillespie slumps into that iconic ‘hanging onto the mic stand for dear life’ pose, his hair pedantically groomed like a young pasty faced militant struggling to digest the chemicals in his system and the fire in his heart. He is surrounded by a collective of rock and roll degenerates, bottom-end bass monster Mani to his left, a bloated Kevin Shields locked in a world of blaring discord of his own to his right. The sides of the stage are littered with a plethora of goggle-eyed friends and hangers on. The only absentee is Martin Duffy. Something to do with a broken leg, we hear.

‘Shoot Speed/ Kill Light’ illuminates the auditorium, a dizzy, never-ending helical guitar trip pierced with cosmic brass. ‘Burning Wheel’ cloaks the mood in groovalicious dub. ‘Kill All Hippies’ is an eruption of 21st century soul. But too often the sound is muted where it should be a combustible blast. And there are moments when you have question whether this record has been talked up to the sort of high heavens the Scream can’t quite reach. If we strip away the iconography that too often blurs Gillespie’s vision, and the ambiguous polemic, often what’s left is a mere Pistols/Stooges homage that defies true belief in the Scream’s ability. ‘Accelerator’ being a prime example. And earlier tracks such as the awful ‘Medication’ and the happy-go-lucky ‘Rocks’ being worse still. There’s also a sense that their Irish audience are far less enamoured with the songs of ‘Xtrmntr’ than the whole idea. Only when ‘Higher Than The Sun’ is unleashed is there a real sense of rapture.

But the Scream go out with a bang over two encores. “This is one is for lot because I know you just wanna get loaded”, states Gillespie with the basest of Primal Scream instinct and the whole place is shaping up like a party. ‘Movin’ On Up’, featuring a tangent of The Parliments’ soul shaker ‘I Wanna Testify’ sustains such momentum. And the closing ‘Kick Out The Jams’ does exactly was it says on the tin. It’s solid job. Once again Primal Scream have fought for their right to party. Outside of that, communications were vague.

Leagues O’Toole