Spiritualized

Spiritualized at Theatre at Ace Hotel, Los Angeles, CA, February 14th, 2014

Feb 16, 2014 Photography by Myles Pettengill
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Friday night was the grand opening of the Ace Hotel Theater. Formerly United Artists Theatre, the space was rechristened with the first of two sold-out Spiritualized shows. Lead by frontman Jason Pierce, the band was in town to perform their landmark 1997 album; Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.

The pairing of band and venue felt inspired. Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space is a complex album, where passages of orchestral bliss sit side-by-side with spiky noise rock. The Ace Hotel Theater is opulent to the point of looking like something Disney’s imagineers might create. The 1920s building almost bursts at the seams with metalwork, dazzling colors, and chandeliers. Coupled with a stage ringed by white roses, and an ever shifting light show, and it was an evening that verged on sensory overload—in the best way possible.

Spiritualized was joined by a full orchestra and a nine-person choir wearing white robes. Pierce, dressed in all white, performed from a seated position, turned sideways rather than facing the audience. Despite experiencing severe health issues while recording the band’s most recent album Sweet Heart Sweet Light, the musician sounded strong, his iconic rasp rising above the space rock din.

It wasn’t all an exercise in loud louder loudest. Many moments hinged on a sense of intimacy. There was slow build of “Broken Heart,” (an ode to distraction techniques a person uses to avoid feeling a broken heart) and the swoony “Cool Waves.” But none of the quieter moments matched the emotional punch of the set opener. Coupling Elvis Presley the refrain of Elvis Presely song “I Can’t Help Falling in Love With You” with the maudlin refrain “All I want in life is a little bit of love to take the pain away,” Pierce and co. created a hypnotic haze that equal parts seductive and heartbreaking.

It would have been enough had the band simply chosen to leave the stage and not play an encore, particularly after seventeen-minute set closer, “Cop Shoot Cop.” Having delivered so spectacularly, it almost felt greedy to ask for more. But after a brief break Spiritualized and their backing musicians returned, finishing out the night with “Let it Come Down” and the band’s standard show closer, gospel-influenced song “Oh Happy Day.” Having already delivered the perfect Valentines Day gift to their fans, the encore simply assured that it was a night that no one would soon forget.

(www.facebook.com/spiritualizedofficial)

 




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