Review: Primal Scream @ Plug

An atmosphere of disbelief buzzed through Plug on December 10, as Bobby Gillespie prepared to wow Sheffield in one of its biggest venues, which suddenly seemed miniscule, being packed to the rafters with fans of the Scream.

The overwhelming presence of Gillespie towered over the crowd, glitzy blazer silhouetted against an impressive array of strip lights, as the band tore through raucous opener ‘Accelerator’ from their 2000 album XTRMNTR. Tracks from their latest record Chaosmosis impressed; the catchy tunes of upbeat ‘Where the Light Gets In’ and the gospel-like hallelujahs of ‘Golden Rope’ fitting in nicely around old favourite ‘Jailbird’. Gillespie swaggered as funky synth number ‘(Feeling Like A) Demon Again’ showed a band at the peak of their powers, playing accessible anthems that win over both punk and dance audiences worldwide.

The magic of 1991 album Screamadelica comes first through the subtle ‘Higher than the Sun’, made all the more effective by following shoe-gaze number ‘Shoot Speed/Kill Light’ and solitary ballad ‘I’m Gonna Cry Myself Blind’. This is the Scream at their most versatile: all the songs somehow fitting together, a rock band at a rave with Gillespie like a Messianic priest at its helm. The gig closed out in spectacular fashion, the techno of ‘Swastika Eyes’ firing up the crowd, before five hits worthy of a Glastonbury headline slot tore the roof clean off. Gillespie’s energy seems to be higher than ever, and his determination all the more focused. Primal Scream may not sell quite as many records anymore – but boy, are they a good live band. And by the looks of it, they always will be.

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