“Not bad for a bunch of old cunts, eh?” says Mani at the end of Primal Scream‘s set – and he isn’t wrong.
Following up their triptych of electro-punk terrorism albums with the watered-down Stones-lite of ‘Riot City Blues’ wasn’t the Scream‘s brightest idea, but tonight they redeem themselves. Gone are the gospel singers of that album’s overblown tour, leaving the band stripped down to a tight six-piece.
The group are electrifying: a hailstorm of fuzz and techno beats, Stooges‘ energy and My Bloody Valentine noise. Even ‘Riot City Blues’ tracks are given the make over, draped in harder and punchier arrangements.
Primal Scream‘s stylistic leaps over the last twenty-odd years could have led to a disjointed set, but it all somehow made sense, ‘Loaded’ fitting perfectly next to the likes of ‘Swastika Eyes’ and ‘Burning Wheel’. If only they’d played ‘Kowalski’, then the night would have been perfect.
They do, however, debut a new song, ‘Can’t Get Back’, which Bobby claims is about “mumble…mumble….drugs….”. Business as usual, then. It sounds like a continuation of ‘Riot City Blues’‘ back to basics rock, but via the MC5 fuzzfest of ‘Evil Heat’‘s ‘City’. It bodes well.
We also managed to check out a bit of Foo Fighters‘ headline slot on the main stage, beginning when Dave Grohl came out to play a strangely anti-climactic solo version of ‘Everlong’, before the full band launched into the mighty ‘Monkey Wrench’.
It’s undeniable that the Foos put on a fantastic rock show. Although they pursue lowest common denominator crowd-pleasing in the way they drop out to let the audience sing the chorus of every single song, they do it so well, and it’s so life-affirming, they effectively elevate the singalong to the status of high art, ahem. Everyone knows the words to every song and it’s a real communal event. God Bless Dave Grohl. Next week he’ll surely be uniting Israel and Palestine with the dumb rock thrills of ‘All My Life’ or ‘Low’.
Words: Tom Pinnock