Promoting their 11th album, psych-rock giants Primal Scream brought their UK tour to the seaside city of Portsmouth. Support for the evening came from London noise rock quartet Bo Ningen, building a wall of sound, and playing a set reminiscent of a Ride/Neu! lovechild. As the four-piece wrapped up, the Pyramids Centre began to swell as influxes of fans bustled down to the front ready to see the Glaswegian legends take to the stage.
Launching straight into Moving On Up from seminal 1991 album ‘Screamadelica’, Primal Scream were greeted to exuberant cheers, though a slightly static crowd. Playing some earlier and grittier rock tracks like Accelerator and Jailbird, the electronica track (Feeling Like A) Demon Again from 2016 album ‘Chaosmosis’ turned us down a trippy path, followed closely by Golden Rope and Shoot Speed/Kill Light. After which, the ballad-like (I’m Gonna) Cry Myself Blind made for a more tender moment of the evening, purely exercising the ability of the 5-piece to drift between genres.
Higher Than The Sun saw Primal Scream’s set pivot completely, to a more energetic acid-house/rave standing with the triple hit of Trippin’ On Your Love, 100% or Nothing, and Swastika Eyes making it feel like I’d entered that clubbing scene from Trainspotting. At this point, however, the crowd was still at a bit of a standstill. All was resolved though, when the defining track of the 1990s, Loaded, spurred the crowd into a frenzy of universal dancing, with crowdsurfers and people on shoulders ensuing not long after the beginning narrative of “We wanna get loaded, and we wanna have a good time” echoed around the Pyramids Centre. Straight after, the man himself, Bobby Gillespie, summoned a grandiose singalong for main set-closer Country Girl.
Emerging back on with a confidence I think you can only gain from 30+ years of playing gigs to adoring fans, Primal Scream began their encore with gospel-influenced Come Together, before going into Rocks. Accompanied by the biggest singalong of the evening, Gillespie paraded around the stage for the 1994 hit single, with the crowd shouting the lyrics right back at the band.
With a relatively short set, what the Glaswegians lacked in quantity, they sure as hell made up for in quantity … and with a set like that, it really is a wonder why a band as colossal as Primal Scream were playing such an intimate venue. Nonetheless, Primal Scream undeniably still emanate the zeal and power that has been so prominent throughout their career.
Words by Jasmin Robinson