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Primal Scream
The House Of Blues, Los Angeles, CA—06/08/00

While Primal Scream have forged a reputation as electronic alchemists through a series of meticulously elaborated studio albums, itís worth noting that itís their base as a rock group that possesses perfect mastery of the stage.

Instead of blasting the room with samples and other analogical flourishes, the group opted for a framework of guitar-bass-drums accompanied by some electronic experimenting. So much the better, as the concert was an occasion to discover new versions of most of the arrangements redone for the event. Thus a muscular band on stage was needed: the presence of the bassist from the Stone Roses leading the dance with his fat sound while three guitarists (including the one from My Bloody Valentine) established a wall of sound and a trumpeter and a saxophonist brought a touch of funk. As for Bobby Gillepsie, he adopted a sulking pout reminiscent of his Jesus & Mary Chain years while he sang, and very well at that.

Screamís goal was clear: set the room ablaze, and they did it from second one with the propulsion of bass on "Swastika Eyes", a single from Xtrmntr. Pieces from their latest album followed, with a rap version of "Pills" far superior to the original. "Kill All Hippies" and "Kowalski" were charged with feeding the frenzy of the room while some intimacy was created with a few instrumentals and the hypnotic "Higher Than The Sun"—that Gillepsie dedicated to Ian Astbury (lead singer of the The Cult) present at the HOB. The concert then took on some accents of rock when Primal Scream started with "Rock On", "Medication" and "Movin' On Up" where the group celebrated their Rolling Stonesian influences. Finally, for their last mutation, the group chose an explosive end through their cyber or pure punk songs like "Accelerator" that mark the rage of Xtrmntr. And history affirmed their English punk origins, with the revival of "Kick Out The Jam" by MC5. For "No Fun" by the Stooges they called on none other than Sex Pistols guitarist—Steve Jones—who came to support the group (A wink to the past since the Sex Pistols made "No Fun" one of their anthems.). It proved to be an almost surreal moment that gave you the impression of finding yourself right in the middle of the film Sugar Town.

Without a doubt this was a good concert whose principal force resided in the live arrangements of most of their songs as well as their fluency in communicating their music from one style to another. Some surprises all the same, especially the quasi-absence of Screamadelica, one of the most important albums of the nineties and their hymn, "Loaded", and the overly annoying and anti-charismatic attitude of the singer who didnít lighten up until Steve Jones showed up. Finally, the under employment of Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) was even more flagrant as his guitar was almost unnoticeable, a crime considering heís one of the masters of the noisy scene!

The coming of Primal Scream was an event not to be missed. And the presence of personalities like Ian Astbury, Steve Jones and Alan MacGee, founder of the English label Creation only reinforced its scope.

  Fred Thom

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Primal Scream:The House Of Blues, Los Angeles, CA—06/08/00

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