Primal Scream, Screamadelica, Brixton Academy, London
Monday 04 April 2011
When Primal Scream played their iconic 1991 Screamadelica album in its entirety last November, they probably weren't expecting to be announcing two more London dates. But such was the success of the one-off homage the band paid to their groundbreaking album to accompany its re-release 20 years later, that they took the show on a full UK tour this month.
While Primal Scream have been known for reworking the sound of their own favourite bands – the rock'n'roll swagger of The Rolling Stones and The Stooges – Screamadelica was the album that took things to a new level. Injecting acid house and the ambient feel of The Orb into their rock foundations, the album went on to win the first ever Mercury Prize and become known as one of the most essential albums of the 1990s.
That the crowd was mostly made up of late-30 to 40-somethings, reliving the drug-fuelled days of their youth, made it an evening of nostalgia rather than calling to mind the relevancy of the band today, although opener "Movin' On Up" remains a favourite at indie discos everywhere. Launching into the jubilant song full pelt with a gospel choir, the wispy-framed frontman Bobby Gillespie yelled "Are you ready to testify?", before careering excitedly from one end of the stage to the next throughout the next two hours, prompting the whole venue to become a party where old friends locked arms and hugged the strangers next to them. The woman next to me shouted "I hope heaven's like this!", summing up the euphoric mood in the venue and the palpable sense of unity within the crowd.
That some of the songs had not been played before Screamadelica was last aired in full seemed a wise decision tonight, although thankfully the tracklisting was neatly rearranged so that the ambling songs came earlier in the set. An over-extended multi-part version of the trippy "Higher Than the Sun", complete with swirling, trance-inducing rainbow-hued projections, was happily followed by their greatest hit of all, "Loaded", which saw the venue lit up by purple lasers.
But it was the final, non-Screamadelica song, "Rocks", that left the crowd on a high. With the band playing at a frenetic pace, they ended with an ear-blistering finale that would ensure all the fans would remember the night.
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