Primal Scream, Astoria, London

Chris Mugan
Sunday 07 July 2013 03:15

The pasty-faced front man, Bobby Gillespie, is no match for Rod Stewart, but, after his party-pooping appearance at last year's Glastonbury, he is on more welcoming form.

Even without the mandolin of its single version, the opening number, "Country Girl", chuggs along like a moonshine-driven hoedown. On the straight skiffle of "Hole in My Heart", the band are as innovative as Bill Haley's Comets, though another newie, the expansive "When the Bomb Drops", shows the difference that the former Stone Roses bassist, Mani, has made. While Give Out relied on session musicians for authenticity, now the band can dictate their feel.

Old favourites are also stripped down, most notably their version of "Slip Inside This House", by the Sixties cult heroes The 13th Floor Elevators, with Gillespie cribbing its endless lyrics from a sheet. Instead of the acid workout version on the Scream's classic Screamadelica, here it's a more respectful garage version. Likewise, John Lennon might have been impressed by their raw take on his "Gimme Some Truth". In a night dominated by guitars, the band mainstay, Andrew Innes, provides a loose fuzz, while Robert Young, in for the former My Bloody Valentine Kevin Shields, pulls out some wickedly dirty riffs. Just as important, in brief snatches, was Martin Duffy's bar-room piano. As ever, though, the band have overlooked Gillespie's cliché-ridden lyrics.

Highlights are plentiful. "Moving on Up" remains one of the most successful fusions of British grit and gospel euphoria, while "Rocks" contains a swagger you could not achieve from mere pastiche. These gell nicely with those more futurist numbers that showed the way for the likes of Kasabian. At other times they sound like a Rolling Stones tribute band.

Primal Scream play Wolverhampton on 26 April, Manchester on 27 April, and Glasgow on 28 April

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