Primal Scream in Toronto

March 30, 2009 at 2:49 am (Uncategorized)

Dilettantish dabblers or musical innovators? Primal Scream has attracted both comments and more throughout their long career. The first Scream records were jaggley pop, but 1991’s Screamadelica changed all that. The hippie ecstacy- rave scene co-incidedly perfectly with their new sound. So what did they do next? Record a searing Faces/Stones record, Give Out, but don’t Give Up  featuring their swaggering Stones ripoff Rocks.  Three years later, and a dance orientated Vanishing point appeared, followed by Adrian Sherwood’s Echo Dek, a dub remix of the record the next year. 2000’s XTRMNTR moved the band into electronica and industrial sounds, a trend which continued with Evil Heat. The band swung back to rock with Riot City Blues, and then a still rock, but clearly poppier Beautiful Future this year. And yet, it’s still Primal Scream throughout.

To say I was looking forward to last week’s show at the Phoenix is a bit of an understatement. Primal Scream occupy a significant corner of the CD racks at the homestead. so, I really couldn’t figure out why there was so little publicity in the media.

Kuromaopened the show with a 30 minute set. Kuroma are from Athens, Georgia, but unfortunately that means a lot less than it once did. For the first half of their set, each song seemed to devolve into a boogie-jam. And a fairly uninspiring one. Note to self: you don’t always need to see the support band. Then, a wonder occured. The songs became shorter, faster, and popier. Hang on, I thought, maybe I’ve been too hasty. And then another wonder, back to the boring guitar jams. Oh well.

The Scream took the stage at a little after 10:00 and immediately launched into Kill All Hippies from XTRMNTR (see set list below) For the next ninety minutes or so, the audience were treated to a mixture of songs from the new album and selection from the back catalogue with a generous helping of hits. What’s amazing about Primal Scream is their ability to  play songs from almost all of their phases, and yet still sound like a cohesive whole: From the guitiar rock to Jailbird to the dance music of Swastika Eyes, the package worked. I wasn’t overly fond of the material from the new album, but there was enough treats to make it worthwhile.

Front-man Bobby Gillespie is both the highpoint and the weakest link in the group. His vocal range is quite limited and, to be honest he’s not much of a singer, but he certainly has charisma. and plenty of rock star movies. and this show really felt like  a rock show: Strobe lights, a laser  show: ”Toronto, are you ready to get your fucking rocks off..’  all the cliches, and yet we didn’t care. We screamed for more. and they gave us more. Almost two hours when the house lights came up.

Set List:

Kill All Hippies
Can’t Go Back
Miss Lucifer
Suicide Sally And Johnny Guitar
Jailbird
Burning Wheel
Beautiful Future
Higher Than The Sun
Deep Hit Of Morning Sun
Exterminator
Suicide Bomb
City
Shoot Speed/Kill Light
Swastika Eyes
Country Girl
Movin’ On Up

Encore:

Damaged
Necro Hex Blues
Rocks
Accelerator

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