Friday, April 3, 2009

Live: Primal Scream

When: 3/29
Where: Music Hall of Williamsburg

Thankfully, I didn't get around to buying tickets for Primal Scream's Webster Hall show on March 28 for a while, and in the meantime, they announced a second date - at the Music Hall of Williamsburg, a much more hip and intimate setting. I booked that ticket right away.

Primal Scream, like many bands driven by midlife crises, is looking a bit haggard these days. Their heavy drug use can't have helped either, and anyway, the band formed almost 30 years ago, in 1982. But despite their years, Primal Scream rocks hard. Integrating acid-house dance beats into poppy rock music, Primal Scream established themselves the ultimate British dance-pop group of the early 90's. However, despite their club-derived beats, Primal Scream's live show proves that they are definitely a rock band. From Andrew Innes's blistering guitar solos to Darin Mooney's massive drum sound, this is rock'n'roll.

Singer Bobby Gillespie carried the show with an energetic performance - he clearly aims to please his crowd. Innes did his part too, wielding his guitar like an AK-47 and just generally rocking it out old-school. Meanwhile, the rhythm guitarist (who was this? anyone know?) and bass player 'Mani' were also playing to the audience, while Mooney and keyboardist Martin Duffy lay low, focusing on their instruments.

The band stumbled a few times, but in a way, that was a positive thing - it's nice to know even rock legends make mistakes. The set was a good length and featured some lesser known songs alongside classics like "Movin' On Up." The audience took on vocal duties for part of "Rocks" and engaged the band in some friendly banter between songs.

Most importantly, the band was having unbelievable amounts of fun. They clearly love being on stage, love playing their music and above all love the admiration of their audience (who, in turn, clamored for a physical brush with greatness every time a member approached the edge of the stage). These guys were born to be rock stars, but they don't seem to take this for granted - pouring themselves into every song, pulling any crowd-pleasing stunt that pops into their mind and keeping the spirit alive for almost three decades. Though not my favorite band to listen to at home, Primal Scream and their powerful showmanship made an impact - next time they come through town, look for me in the front row.

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