Watching Spiritualized headline the UNCUT Arena at the end of Latitude day two, with an astonishing set of heavy, psychedelic noise, I’m reminded of the first and the last time I saw Jason Pierce play live.
I’m reminded of the first time, because as I pile enthusiastically into the UNCUT Arena, which is pitch dark, I start falling over people sitting on the floor. This is almost exactly what happened when I saw Spacemen 3 at what used to be London’s Town And Country Club, where I walked through a set of doors and fell straight over some bloke sitting on the floor – indeed, the entire audience were sitting down. A prone position, you might assume, being the best way to appreciate the medicated drones of Pierce’s first band.
The last time I saw Pierce play was at Islington’s Union Chapel, at one of his Spiritualized Acoustic Mainline shows. There, he stripped his formidable back catalogue down to its basic components with quietly devastating effect. Tonight, he goes in the opposite direction. Accompanied by six other musicians, he basically turns up the volume and let everything hit you full on. It is, frankly, brilliant.
Standing on the far stage right, wearing a pair of hefty shades, he barely moves throughout the set. Still, he manages to coax an impressively wide and frequently squally range of sounds from his guitars. We get the precise, plangent, echoey notes of “Walking With Jesus”, or a vicious, nightmarish wall of feedback on “Take Me To The Other Side”. It’s strange, perhaps, but when all is said and done about Pierce, I tend to think his talents as a musician are perhaps overlooked. His playing tonight, at least, is phenomenal.
There’s a tremendous version of “Think I’m In Love”, beautiful drop bass lines and high-end spangly effects included. A joyous “Lay Back” that loops and grows and finally erupts into a burst of white noise. A fantastic “Come Together”, that similarly climaxes in a blistering whirl of feedback.
I guess you could say, one of the key highlights of the weekend in the UNCUT Arena. Jason's an UNCUT hero.
Spiritualized set list:
Amazing Grace/You Lie You Cheat
Shine A Light
Soul On Fire
Walking With Jesus
Think I'm In Love
Take Your Time
Take Me To The Other Side