Boys and Girls, I'd like to ask you a simple question.

Right, are you listening ?

What is rock 'n' roll ?

Rock 'n' roll, for those too young to know indie before XFM came along, is a number of things. It is attitude. It is black tight trousers. It is dope. It is not following the crowd. It is making your own rules. It is freedom of speech. It is love of the best music. It is uncontrolable. It is in your heart and soul. It is just there and you are either born with it or you are left to follow the rest of life's sheep.

Who watches fucking 'Pop Idol' ? Boys and girls, do you know that Will Young is stocked next to Neil Young in Virgin and HMV which, as far as I am concerned, is crapping over a true legend ?

Tonight's show, the second date into Primal Scream's 'Evil Heat' tour, is an all nighter lasting from 9 p.m. to the small hours of 3 a.m., and much as I have time for Bobby Gillespie, Kevin Shields, Andrew Innes and Throb Young's band, it is not till they leave the stage that we see true genius in the flesh with the rebirth of the Stooges with two orignal members, but more about that later.

Tonight's show was kicked off at 9.30 p.m. by the Primals main support, the Kills, who sound very much like they are from 1977 and look it. The band consists of one guy, Jamie "Hotel" Hince, and one girl, Alison "VV" Mosshart, who has long hair all over her face, tight black trousers, and the attitude and charisma of one Patti Smith, all of which I enjoy very much as an hors d'oeuvre,

Next is up is the band that really got me here tonight, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (BRMC). Their set tonight consists of retreads of their classic first album which I don't think enough people have really listened to yet, as the only tracks to be greeted as long lost friends are the XFM friendly 'Spread Your Love', 'Whatever Happened to mY Rock 'n' Roll ?' and 'Love Burns' singles, which is a shame as they five new songs they play tonight are just as classic as anything off their debut.

By this time the crowd has swelled, but it friendly enough until a drunken teenager falls on me and then gives me a right telling off for simply being there. I feel like telling him to "Go and fuck off, kid". At midnight the Primals finally greet us. For the first three songs their sound is a bit mussy, and I find myself kicked all over the place until I find a nice little home for myself which is a bit safer. Noone told me that Primal Scream now attract a band. Hey, I thought they were a rock 'n' roll band.

Bobby has the crowd easily in his hands and greets it by coming out with something like "Sister Ray is in the town. We're gonna have a revolution. We got absolution". Then again though Bobby has always waffled ever since I first saw him at the long defunct Clarendon back in '86. Four songs in and for the intro to 'Shoot Speed, Kill Light' our Bobby shows his political side by going off on a trip and repeating "Death to Israel ! Free Palestine !'"over and over again. Later on before they get to 'Burning Wheel' Bobby gets on his high horse again and starts telling the crowd how great Liam Gallagher is. Please !!!

At least after this, he tells the crowd to hang around for Asheton, Asheton, Mascis and Watt, who are going to play the most amazing rock 'n' roll. It is not until ten songs in though that I really start to get into Primal Scream, when they actually play something that I love. These days I am a hard bastard to please, and, if I don't like it, then I don't get it. It is not that 'Evil Heat' is a bad record because it is not. I actually think it finds them back on form, but Primal Scream do have this guitar onslaught thing which I suppose started back in '89 after James Beattie left and Throb had to give up the bass for the lead guitar. I find it all a little over bearing.

From here on they play some more enjoyable tunes. When they join us again for the first encore, they play 'Higher than the Sun'. My ex wife told me when that came out that Bobby had lost it. I told her "No Way" and then ended up getting the US import with loads of mixes on it and driving her mad with it. We split up not long afterwards.

After five more songs, the Primals finally say goodnight with a stonking cover of MC5's 'Kick Out the Jams'. This was my first Primal Scream gig in five years, and, yes, it was enjoyable, but it was the next band on stage, who even without Mr Iggy Pop, completely blew me over with their set of Stooges songs. The group featured Ron and Scott Asheton from the original Stooges on guitar and drums respectively, J. Mascis formerly of Dinosaur Jr again on guitar, and Mike Watt from the Minutemen, who as well as doing bass duties (and what bass lines !) did a cool, tight Iggy impression. I was never a Stooges fan until tonight, but this opened my eyes. The band finished with a mind blowing 60 minutes ass kicking verion of 'I Wanna Be Your Dog', which was even better than their version of 'No Fun' which Bobby sang guest vocals on.

Gig of the year, and then Asheton, Asheton, Mascis and Watt did it again the next night at the Mean Fiddler. I have never seen it so rammed in all my life and that show was, if anything, even better.


The middle photo that accompanies this article of the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club was taken by Bob Stuart and was originally published on his own photographic website www.underexposed.org.uk












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Commenting On: London Brixton Academy, 7/12/2002 - Primal Scream








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