Primal Scream @ Rock City, Nottingham, UK | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Sunday, August 9th, 2020  

Primal Scream at Rock City, Nottingham, UK, December 3rd, 2019

Dec 11, 2019 Photography by Shaun Gordon Web Exclusive
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If there's one band that exemplifies the spirit of hedonistic rock and roll it has to be Primal Scream. Having existed as a band for the best part of four decades - albeit via several line up changes and a chameleonic approach to making music - their name has become synonymous with genre cross-pollination. Breaking down barriers between any number of musical styles over their thirty-seven years as a band, Primal Scream are probably more deserving of a retrospective tour than most of their contemporaries. Which makes tonight's celebration of the band's extensive back catalogue even more spectacular.

Primal Scream

Having first visited Nottingham in the late 1980s and played almost every venue in the city since, the Scream are no strangers here having visited at regular intervals throughout their various guises. Playing as a five-piece at the moment - founder members Bobby Gillespie and Andrew Innes flanked by long standing keyboard player Martin Duffy and omnipresent drummer Darrin Mooney with most recent recruit Simone Butler delivering some of the most iconic basslines to soundtrack this generation.

With a set clocking in at just under two hours and eleven albums' worth of material to choose from, its understandable that a few personal favourites won't get an airing this evening. However, what they do play more than accentuates why they've attained legendary status throughout their career. So it shouldn't come as too much of a surprise that some albums remain untouched tonight including debut Sonic Flower Groove or 2013's critically acclaimed More Light.

Primal Scream

Nevertheless, when you have a back catalogue brimming with as many gems as Primal Scream have, there's always going to be difficult decisions when choosing a set. Opening with "Don't Fight It, Feel It", Screamadelica's clarion call in uniting both rock and rave cultures. Originally sang by Denise Johnson, frontman Gillespie takes lead vocal here and immediately Rock City is transported back to legendary rave club Shoom circa 1991.

From hereon in it becomes a jubilant celebration as the heavy electronic beats of "Swastika Eyes" and "Miss Lucifer" gives way to the vastly underrated "Can't Go Back" off 2008's Beautiful Futures. "Accelerator" and "Kill All Hippies" off 2000's widely acclaimed sixth long player XTRMNTR keep pulses racing before "(I'm Gonna) Cry Myself Blind" and "I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have" from 1994's Give Out But Don't Give Up and 1989's self-titled second album respectively create a more sombre ambience.

Primal Scream

One of the most heart-warming aspects on this tour has been the acknowledgment of the band's earliest compositions so it's quite an hour to hear "Velocity Girl". Released in 1986 as the b-side to second single "Crystal Crescent" and introduced as "a song that was written about a girl from Nottingham I once knew". It was something of an honour to finally hear the song played in all its glory this evening. 

Unsurprisingly, the biggest reception is afforded for the hits, and once despatched they flow with an abundance. The distinguished likes of "Loaded" and "Movin' On Up" glow with a reverence normally reserved for state ceremonies while the closing gambit of "Come Together", "Jailbird" and "Rocks" firmly cements Primal Scream's legendary status as one of the most innovative bands since the initial fury of punk.

Primal Scream

In all the years Primal Scream have been treading the boards there's never been a dull moment or duff show, and tonight was no exception.

Truly inspirational. 

Primal Scream


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