Primal Scream present a whole different ball game at BBC 5 Live’s Big Day Out in Liverpool.
‘Security have warned me to tell you that you must remain in your seats, but I don’t really feel the need as this is a rock and roll gig,’ slurs Bobby Gillespie.
Cue pandemonium. Well, pandemonium, given the context.
For 20 minutes earlier, and we’d arrived in the half-full Liverpool Echo Arena and sat politely in our seats as middle-aged barrel-chested pot-bellied men guffawed along to another set of middle-aged barrel-chested pot-bellied men on stage at BBC Radio 5 live’s Big Day Out. For, along with host, Colin Murray, they’d digested several hours worth of sporting japes, banter, bevying and penalty shoot-outs culminating in tonight’s show.
And what moments earlier resembled a slightly less excitable darts crowd, with the introduction of Primal Scream, has now turned into a mess of bodies clambering over the in-house seating scrambling for pole position in front of the barriers.
The day-glo orange swishing of security guards hurriedly, and hopelessly, attempting to restore order can’t help but raise a wry smile. Primal Scream always induce mania, whatever the situation.
The last time Getintothis caught them in Liverpool they arrived armed with bombastic sloganeering, barbed-wire staging and sonic warfare ripping holes into the Royal Court Theatre and your ear inner. The last time we caught them live, they were tearing strips off Basement Jaxxx, the ‘fake hippy’ crowd and the organisers as they willingly refused to leave the stage after a compulsively chaotic show at Glastonbury. It was punk rock at it’s purest.
And tonight, despite the back-drop of branding, the oppressively dry Arena context and a crowd which primarily came here to watch Robbie Savage shoot his mouth off, Primal Scream are intent on having a different kind of ball.
For an hour and ten minutes they blister and bomb the senses with a smattering of tracks from new album More Light and an assortment of classics from their arsenal; it all works and there’s little let up.
Opener 2013 has the boggle-eyed lunatics leaping around legless early doors as the squalling sax slithers up to Andrew Innes‘ leather kecks while River Of Pain ramps up the lascivious debauchery as Gillespie wraps his ringmaster pantaloons around the mic stand as the red lighting pings off his Ray Bans.
As if to underline their versatility they toss out the raucous Stones pastiche of Country Girl and quickly follow it up with the mechanical monster – and set standout – Swastika Eyes complete with air-raid siren, devastating drum-attack from Darrin Mooney and Martin Duffy keyboard assault.
With Colin Murray air-maraca-ing stage left, they unleash a dizzying Loaded which sees one blitzed punter to our left undress himself and begin to massage his quite bulbous frame before collapsing in a heap of sweat and discarded clobber.
Inevitably, the set is heavy on the new tracks, with Gillespie insisting ‘this is our greatest record – but I guess, I’m biased,‘ and it’s only on the meanderingly-addled Goodbye Johnny that there’s any sense of filler. Yet, there’s little time to pause, and they quickly recover with the gospel-infused clamour of It’s Alright, It’s OK.
Movin’ On Up, Rocks and the horns-assisted Invisible City complete a trio of swaggering rock and roll classics before a momentous Come Together finds band and crowd singing in unison. It’s all to brief but it’s bloody glorious – a return date can’t come soon enough.
Photography by Dave Munn.
Further reading on Getintothis
Top 10 tracks: Primal Scream.