Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Primal Scream at Irving Plaza

Bobby Gillespie
Influenced by the punk rock movement in Scotland, Glasgow native Bobby Gillespie joined a local punk band, the Drains, in 1978, but the band was short-lived. He worked as a roadie for Altered Images and played bass in the Wake before starting Primal Scream in 1982. He also played drums in the Jesus and Mary Chain from 1984 to 1986. When the leaders of Jesus and Mary Chain asked Gillespie to choose between that band and Primal Scream, Gillespie chose the latter and left the former. Primal Scream became among the leaders of the indie pop movement of the late 1980s, but never achieved the popularity in the United States that the band received in Great Britain. The band's 10th and most recent album, More Light, was released in 2013. Primal Scream presently  consists of vocalist Gillespie, guitarist Andrew Innes, keyboardist Martin Duffy, bassist Simone Butler and drummer Darrin Mooney.

Over 33 years, Primal Scream changed its sound from jangly indie pop to more psychedelic, garage rock and blues before incorporating dance, funk and shoe-gaze elements. At Irving Plaza tonight, the band was primarily a rock and roll band, only hinting subtly at those sub-genres. "Swastika Eyes" and "Can't Go Back" leaned to dance-pop, "Movin' on Up" and "Loaded" were more Rolling Stones, and several songs were harder guitar-edged, perhaps Jane's Addiction-style. In all, the band performed 16 songs from nine albums, half of the set originating from the band's more successful albums, Screamadelica and XTRMNTR. Gillespie was an average singer and the musicians were average players, but the sum was far greater than the parts. Together as Primal Scream, the five members put on a fine rock and roll show.

Visit Primal Scream at