Primal Scream - Cardiff University

As a youngster I experienced a number of, what I now recognise to be, nostalgia driven musical trends. First came the mod revival, then the ska revival and even a ‘new wave’ of British Heavy Metal. This was the period when re-issues were, at best, a rare novelty and events such as the 20th Anniversary of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Heart’s Club Band made national news; albeit news which appeared to have all the relevance of a reading of the Dead Sea Scrolls. At such a tender age it doesn’t really occur to you that the people who were there first time around might still be kicking around and culturally aware. It doesn’t occur to you that one day you’ll be an active participant in a nostalgia trip for your own life. Truth hits everyone.

Still, what better way to celebrate your own decrepitude than to have the last flicker of life crushed from your body by the throbbing basslines of one of the truly groundbreaking albums in British rock history? From a personal perspective it’s fitting that the journey comes full circle here in Cardiff University, for it was here that I first encountered Primal Scream as they toured the louche leather and patchouli rock grooves of their Primal Scream album. I remember it well for, so sparse was the attendance that it was touch and go whether the audience would outnumber the band. Fast forward six months and 'Loaded' had taken the nation by storm and nothing would be the same again. Crazyhead? Who they? Hey Cardiff, what’s the name of my DJ?

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Truth be told, this tour was the only real option open to Primal Scream, as the rare appearance of a blissed-out Screamadelica track during one of their recent doom laden, black clad, Krautrock fuzz fests has represented a culture clash akin to Alan Bennet making a guest appearance on Mock The Week. So here we are, Screamadelica shakes off the mothballs. It’s as an authentic experience as you could hope for, given changes in personnel, although they've finally given up on attempting to coax the audience into dancing with some pre-gig house music. Screamadelica may have changed the face of music but there’s still a rigid divide between gig and nightclub and the people of Cardiff aren’t about to make the walls come tumbling down tonight.

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Thankfully, first three songs aside, there's no attempt made to stick to the album blueprint and the first half of the set is set aside for the more challenging numbers. Cardiff inevitably fails that challenge and the likes of 'Shine Like Stars' and 'Damaged' are rather swamped in crowd chatter. There's precious little scope for etheriality and fragility in a student union bar at the end of term, hopefully the Eden Project crowd will be more open minded. Tonight it's more of a case of Don't Feel it, Fight it and Bobby appears unimpressed. Inner Flight he shrugs with all the cosmic wonder of a man that's just been crapped on by a seagull. "This one is dedicated to Alan McGee," he continues as the band head into the evening's highlight, a dub heavy 'Higher Than The Sun' which ends with a blissful Grateful Dead acid guitar wig out. However, it's the next song that a hefty proportion of the audience have turned out to hear. Iachi Da, Cardiff shouts an otherwise muted Mani as the audience takes a break from having a chat to decide just what it is that they want to do. "Come on Cardiff, you can do better than that," sighs an embattled Gillespie before saving the day with a sublime rendition of 'Come Together' which ends with some genuinely spontaneous crowd participation.

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Victory at last? Well, it's a perfect place to end proceedings so, of course, they inevitably carry on. Returning to the stage to play what appears to be a straightlaced approximation of 'Cotton Eye Joe' (I think you'll find it was 'Country Girl' - Ed) the Scream deliver a crowd pleasing encore which has all the subtlety and propriety of Chas n Dave having a good ol' cockernee knees up at a state funeral. Nostalgia ain't what it used to be.

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Last updated: 31/05/2018 17:50:28

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