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Primal Scream Shepherds Bush Empire 19th June 2002

It's almost fifteen years to the day that Kitten first marvelled at Bobby and his motley gang. The line-up may have changed several zillion times along the way, as has the Scream sound, but this is no washed up past it's prime beat combo. As any idiot knows, the Scream are still VITAL! Probably a lot more so in these days of identikit, churn em out nu-metal, nu-garage, toe-ing the industry line, eyes on the main (cash) prize say-nothing dullards and non-entities that are presented as the anti-pop-pap 'alternative' choice for tha kidz. Have you seen the video for latest Scream single 'Miss Lucifer'? Ooh, nasty. Have you seen the 'new father' crinkles and creases round Bobby's squinting eyes? Nastier.

Tonight for the first time evah! there is no time-stretching into infinity wait for the perma-partying Primals to stop guzzling narcotics and remember to go onstage. Instead, they file on promptly at 9:20pm, Bobby in jeans and white suit jacket. Urgh! What's with the broadsheet fashion-shoot 'The Strokes look is so in darling' styling? No. Way. Thankfully, after a coupla songs, the jacket comes off to reveal a Jagger in Hyde Park-esque floaty white shirt to complement the shaggy, grown-out bowly blunt-fringed haircut. Better.

Bobby and his motley gang 1987

Pummelling straight into 'Miss Lucifer', the sound is vicious, a stripped down white heat Velvets. Shake it baby. Next, naah, come ON! Not 'Rocks' fer gawds sake. Oh it's 'Medication'. No, er it's a new one with the same opening drumbeat, but thankfully with driving bass and Suicide -al tendencies. Bobby dancing like a spaz, chanting 'Got you there, gonna keep you there.'

Unfortunately, later, both 'Medication' & 'Rocks' get an airing. What's the point in playing them both, when one is more than enough? Why bother playing either? 'Rocks' especially is one-trick dumb-as-in-crap, as opposed to dumb-as-in-Ramones-stoopid-cool. I'd be happy if it never got played again. What does Kevin Shields, lurking to one side coaxing scribbly noise from his guitar, think of these songs? This man was once lord of the meticulously constructed sonic overload, rightly acknowledged as a soundscapin' genius. And he has to put up with this lowest common denominator, knuckle-dragging yawnstuff. Madly, sadly, the crowd goes wiulld! Look up there on the balcony. It's Sara Cox punching the air. Duh. Like I said, dumb crap.

Another new song is more rawk than anything on the head-scraping, knee-trembling 'Xtrmntr'. It's closer to the Scream's eponymous second lp, where they alarmingly, yet charmingly went all velvet 'n' leather clad Zep-ROCK, but now with added Shieldsy goodness.

Then there's the gorgeous New Order boom of 'Shoot Speed Kill Light' Kitten wigs out 'neath the shining lights, amidst the static crowd. Here and there are a few geezers up for it like they was in 1992, but by and large there ain't a whole lot of shaking going on in here tonight. Never mind, Kitten shakes her mop as 'Pills' kicks in good, despite Bobby's dubious 'rapping'. 'Burning Wheel' slithers under your skin, it's choppy, jumpy, smart, all dim star euphoria. Still, people are barely moving.

Then. Dancing. Happens! 'Swastika Eyes' a white hot spittin', revved up blisterin' Hi-NRG freak out that goes on for a blissful age. Yeah! The evening peaks here. Kitten's raring for more pogo disco, but sadly, there's no 'Exterminator' and it's fab 'Woo! Here we go!' key change. We get a heaveee 'Accelerator', its thundering power somewhat diminished by the fact that it sounds like Bobby's yelling 'Come On! Come on! Dirty Underwear! Dirty Underwear!' A big cheer goes up for 'Kill All Hippies' and its dislocated hippy hippy shake swoosh-funk.

alarming yet charming
Encores. Eek! It's Jim Reid. He's here to have a slumpin' on the mic stand 'n' drawlin' competition with Bobby. Both do it fantastically well, Jim takes the lead for one song, then the two old Mary Chain muckers indulge themselves in some dueting. Kevin, Bobby, Jim and of course Mani on bass (looking like a dodgy old geezer with cropped hair). Blimey, it's like a late '80s indie supergroup or something. At first it's amusing, then it's a bit rubbish. Old indie blokes rock karaoke, entertaining themselves. Hey! We were on a dancin' queen high back there, bring on the beats, mother! But no, the fast living Scream have done enough. Besides there are babysitters to pay. It's only 10:30. The fact we're hungry for more seriously coruscating techno rock noise, shows how badly Primal Scream are still needed. We have to satisfy ourselves with handfuls of 'Miss Lucifer' stickers instead.
Bobby's motley gang 2002
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