December 15 2013
Manchester Academy on a rainy Sunday night witnessed Primal Scream at their very best says Louder Than War’s Daniel Orr.
It was the finest performance that I’ve seen by Primal Scream – a band I’ve been watching live for 20 years.
They sounded incredible, with the band as tight as, and not a note out of place.
Temples justified all the hype with a highly accomplished set which saw Mark Bolan lookalike and main man James Bagshaw take the lead, switching between 6 string and 12 string guitars for a clutch of songs which reminded me at times of the beautifully simple chime happy vibe of The Byrds and early Beatles records.
I would definitely recommend checking out Temples when they return to the venue next year.
Weatherall opened the show and returned to the decks between Temples and the Scream, seamlessly throwing Bhangra, dub & new wave into the melting pot to provide a fascinating insight into the music that influenced his era defining production & remix work for Bobby G and company during their Screamadelica period.
Then it was time for the main event. Bobby, resplendent in figure hugging black suit and a shimmering silver shirt with neck tie urged the crowd to party with his band as they launched into 2013 – that incredible saxophone line, the thought provoking lyrics and the drum part all serving to make this one of the best singles of the 21st Century.
What a start and the band never looked back. Ploughing through some of the highlights of More Light, which is surely the album of the year by anyone’s standards (see, by way of confirmation the Louder Than War review here).
When I last saw the Scream it was their first Screamadelica anniversary show in London, when Mani was still very much a member, so I must admit I was curious about how his absence would affect the band as a live unit. How do you replace arguably the greatest bassist of all time?
I needn’t have worried because Simone Butler is a superb musician and gave a masterclass in the art of bass playing. It felt as though she had been in the band forever.
Simone plays with effortless verve and groove and was clearly enjoying herself, partaking in plenty of on stage banter and rock star moves with guitarist Barrie Cadogan and Innes. She’s also lovely to look at, which is always a bonus.
It’s hard to pick out a highlight from this 20 song set but special mention should go to Swastika Eyes, which had the Academy crowd bouncing in unison like nobody’s business.
For a band to be into the fourth decade of their existence and still be not just relevant, but also at the forefront of musical exploration is some achievement. On the strength of this performance, and More Light, the Scream team are the best band in the UK, if not the world. Can you think of another band (with the exception of The Rolling Stones) with this many great songs and such a fantastic live setup? I can’t.
Shoot Speed Kill Light
Walking With The Beast
Turn Each Other Inside Out
It’s Alright, It’s OK
I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have
Come Together (Weatherall mix)
Come Together (Terry Farley mix)
Movin’ On Up