Primal Scream - Nottingham Rock City Live Review

Primal Scream review live at Nottingham Rock City on Thursday 27th November 2008.

Primal Scream

For a band with such a dearth of material spanning over two decades and a reputation for living on the wild side of rock'n'roll's increasingly conservative spectrum, it's perhaps a little surprising that Primal Screamhave chosen to make their latest visit to Nottingham a 14+ show, meaning that they find themselves coming on stage at the ridiculously early time of 8:20 while most of us are still in the confines of the bar next door.

The fact that most of tonight's audience seem to have grown up with Bobby Gillespie and co. perhaps doesn't set alarm bells ringing as such, although the vast empty spaces around the venue suggest a high number of tickets were unsold for this evening's show, something the Scream haven't experienced since their Paisley shirt and Chelsea boot days back in the eighties.

Although this tour is billed as the 'Rock'n'Roll Riot Tour', the high jinks and partying of their post-acid house years seem a thing of the distant past now, as Gillespie and Mani, undoubtedly the two key focal points of the band, are devout family men these days rarely seen with a half of shandy let alone substances of the white powder variety.

These days their main focus is on the music, so it's a tad disappointing that their two least incisive records, 'Riot City Blues' and 'Beautiful Future', both emanate from this period. What can't be argued, however, is that as a live outfit they are a more competent proposition than in the past, and the addition of local guitarist ("Little") Barry Cadogan to the ranks gives them a distinguished aura not witnessed since Kevin Shields untimely departure, from a Primal Scream perspective at least.

Sadly, all the musical virtuosity in the world doesn't pull the first half of the 'Beautiful Future'-heavy set out of the mire, and its only a rousing 'Shoot Speed/Kill Light' that seems to spark proceedings - and the crowd - into life. From that point onwards, they play what can only be described as a crowd-pleasing finale, the likes of 'Swastika Eyes', 'Rocks' and 'City', dedicated to former Nottingham Forest football legend Tony Woodcock, all greeted like long lost relatives at a New Year's Eve shindig. While the last thirty minutes don't exactly erase all that came beforehand, they do at least provide a modicum of justification for the continued existence of a band many thought had passed their sell-by date years ago.

That they choose to ignore any material from their first two albums not to mention only minimal delves into 'Accelerator' or 'Vanishing Point' territories could be classed as criminal, but then I guess there is only so much material anyone can play in ninety minutes from such an extensive back catalogue.

Dom Gourlay

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