Friday 20 July 2018


Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

Primal Scream

Olympia, Dublin

"This is a sad night," declares Primal Scream's ringleader Bobby Gillespie. "I don't know if you've heard, but Lou Reed has just died. The Velvet Underground inspired us to form a band, so this show is dedicated to him."

Primal Scream started off their musical life covering The Velvet Underground and the Byrds. They've had more than their fair share of trials, tribulations and colourful scrapes over the years.

When this year's Mercury Prize winner is announced on Halloween night, it is unlikely that the victorious act will repeat the antics of Primal Scream on winning the inaugural award in 1992 when they partied so hard they lost the prizemoney cheque.

Some reports claimed that former guitarist Throb presented it to a homeless man outside the venue.

Twenty-one years later, you wouldn't have expected the Scream Team to be still treading the boards to mark the release of their 10th studio album More Light, but they've unexpectedly matured into an astonishingly prolific studio and live act.

They launch into this year's comeback single '2013', which won't sound dated come January 2014, with its psychedelic blasts of sax and a confrontational attitude, that is sadly absent from most modern music.


Primal Scream fight for their right to party on evergreen anthems 'Jailbird' and this summer's single 'It's Alright, It's OK'. The raw swagger of 'Rocks' segues into 'Country Girl' without pausing for breath.

During a lengthy section showcasing material from their new album, they don't have the crowd groaning for the hits, or patiently enduring the newbies, but remaining just as riveted by these free-jazz experiments that even feature a flute.

Songs from their most famous album Screamadelica don't get a look in until the encores set. 'Higher Than the Sun' threatens to go on for the entire Bank holiday, but it remains completely compelling for every single glorious second.

They have great fun dusting off an early obscurity in 'I'm Losing More Than I'll Ever Have', which dance alchemist Andy Weatherall brilliantly reworked to forge their breakthrough hit 'Loaded', which remains one of the most enduring party anthems that the fusion of rock and rave has ever produced.

To underline the point, they perform both versions back to back.

For 'Loaded', guitarists Andrew Innes, Barrie Cadogan and new bass player Simone Butler line up and perfectly burst into a choreographed blast of white noise for its closing segments.

The uplifting pop gospel of 'Movin' On Up' provides the perfect punctuation mark on an exhilarating and blistering gig. Lou Reed must be hovering up there somewhere nodding approvingly.

Irish Independent

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