Primal Scream @ The Enmore Theatre, Sydney (05/12/2012)

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Legendary artists fall into two camps: those who attempt to evolve and stay relevant, and those who just continue to bank on the hype generated by a few big hits from their early years. Sure, Primal Scream will probably forever be remembered by the nostalgic masses for Loaded, regardless of how great anything else they may ever do is, but it’s encouraging to see them, nearly three decades on form their formation, still writing and playing new music as well as continuously reinterpreting their classics so they don’t sound stale and overplayed.

Australian rockers The Delta Riggs opened up the night with a tight performance to the slowly flourishing crowd. If anyone was the right choice as a support act, it was them: their raw, garage-rock influenced sound with liberal doses of psychedelic vibes was exactly the right warm up, priming the crowd for the headliner’s balls-out energy.

Opening with a brand new song, 2012, Primal Scream’s set smoothly transitioned between uplifting, fun rock ‘n’ roll such as Jailbird and Movin’ On Up, to some of their more aggressive, noisy works like Swastika Eyes and new track Relativity (which is possibly the angriest piece of music ever written by the band). There was also the occasional detour into their stripped-back, psychedelic and introspective material such as Shine Like Stars, which provided a moment for the crowd to gather themselves, as well as showed off the band’s diversity. The most impressive aspect of the performance was definitely how well the band gelled together: every member was spot on with their timing (watching Simone Butler, Mani’s replacement on bass guitar, play some like she’d been part of the band from the beginning amazing), and of course there were chunks of improvisation throughout the show (guitarist Barrie Cadogan’s liberal use of feedback and effects was particularly face-melting).

The set catered to everyone from the most casual fans who just wanted to hear Loaded and Rocks (both of which were played during the encore and suitably went off), to diehard followers who were treated to lesser-known gems such as Slip Inside This House, Accelerator, and I’m Losing More Than I’ll Ever Have, the track which formed the basis for Loaded and is somewhat of a cult hit. It was also great to hear a mix of both old and new songs, and in some cases, classics such as Come Together were heavily reinterpreted to keep them sounding fresh. It would be easy enough for Bobby Gillespie and co. to just rock up to a gig, go through the motions and play all the obvious hits in their original form and stay stuck in the past, but the fact that they continue to try to evolve while at the same time acknowledge – but not milk – their previous successes highlights the genuine love they have for writing and playing music.

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