Twenty-three years ago, a handsome young go-getter — aka me — at the tender age of seven (ahem), began his auspicious rock crit career by reviewing Primal Scream’s February 12th, 1992 performance at the Trocadero for the Allentown Morning Call, my hometown newspaper. To wit:
Primal Scream, a Scottish indie guitar/acid house aggregate, brought a shimmering slice of Madchester to the Trocadero in Philadelphia on Tuesday. The group, fronted by former Jesus And Mary Chain drummer Bobby Gillespie, started out in the mid-’80s as your basic British indie guitar band, in stripey shirts and pudding bowl haircuts, with all the requisite terminally-hip American influences, i.e. The Velvet Underground, The Byrds and The Beach Boys. After two albums, the band grew tired of staid rock audiences and retooled its sound to appeal to the dance-club crowd.
Tuesday night represented a concerted effort on the part of the Trocadero to recreate the overhyped, Ecstacy-driven Rave scene that made Manchester, England, an international youth culture capital. Before the show, noted DJ Boy Blake spun acid-house mixes at 130 beats per minute or faster while the dance floor swirled with smoke, sirens and strobe lights. The more than 800 people grooving on this mind-altering disco scene invariably resembled the cast of Beverly Hills 90210. Many were dressed in baggy acid washed jeans, floral print shirts and baseball caps slightly askew.
Primal Scream managed to continue the hallucinations by decorating the stage with a Day-Glo mural backdrop, more smoke and swirling tentacles of pink and purple light. Onto the backdrop, the band projected slides of classic American iconography such as Elvis, rebel flags and cowboys. While the eight-piece band utilized its share of backing tracks and sampling, two real live guitar players gave the canned grooves an appealingly raw quality. Gillespie spent the evening doing a dead-on impersonation of a young Mick Jagger, and a black female back-up singer lent some much-needed vocal heft to his frail British sneer.
By combining soul, gospel, psychedelia, country & western and disco, the band produced an often infectious, if unadvisable, pop hybrid. High points included “Come Together,” “Loaded,” “Higher Than the Sun” and a raucous and rhythmic reading of The 13th Floor Elevators’ “Slip Inside This House” — during which Gillespie transmuted the chorus to “trip inside this house.” However, the most compelling moment came near the end of the night, when Primal Scream canned all the electro-schlock and proceeded to stomp all over The Stooges’ “No Fun” — which no doubt confused all the Brandon and Brenda Walsh wannabees in the crowd. And that’s just fine with me. MORE
OK, Lester Bangs it aint’ but, hey, I was only seven (cough, cough). Plus I really stuck it to those Beverly Hills 90210 wannabes. I still HATE those guys. Fast forward 23 years and we’re all a little bit older and a little bit colder, but some things never change. I’m still a handsome, impossibly young rock critic with my whole life ahead of me and Primal Scream is still (presumably) skinny-butt limeys taking drugs to make music to take drugs to. They play the TLA tonight and while we can’t help you out with where to get some E, we do have a coupla pair of tix for the Phawker-reading hepcats that can appreciate the value of said tix. To qualify all you have to do is follow us on Twitter and then send an email to FEED@PHAWKER.COM telling us you now follow us, or already did, along with your full name, Twitter handle and a mobile number for confirmation. Put the magic words SCREAMADELICA in the subject line. Good luck and godspeed!