Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Babyshambles & Primal Scream, London Shepards Bush Empire
I booked tickets for this gig an age ago on the strength of The Scream Team, so it’s a bonus for us to get a chance to see Pete Doherty and given recent form it’s quite surprising to find out that he’s turned up to play. A little we arrive he stumbles out looking a little drunk but other wise not too worse for wear, in fact, he actually looks a lot better than most of the recent pictures I’ve seen.
We’ve actually booked tickets to see Babyshables play The Scala in September, but given that he may get a custodial sentence on 1st September for carrying a flick knife, this may be our only chance to see Pete and the band play.
At first the thought of Pete Doherty supporting a band as hedonistic as Primal Scream would seam to be a recipe for instant overdose. But then maybe Bobbie G can give Pete some advise as a front man who has been through it and come out the other side stronger.
And I really hope that Pete can pull through this and get back with The Libertines because Babyshambes are pretty average. The guitarist is pretty handy and Pete, freed from having to play guitar moves around the stage Morrissey in The Smiths era; but the songs are average, and pale in comparison to the Libs material. I guess we could say Pete without Carl Libertine is like John Lennon without Macca.
Primal Scream went through their “drug-hell” years in the 90’s between Screamadelica and Give Out but Don’t Give Up and for a while it was touch or go as to whether they would make it through to make another record. But they survived and made it out the other side stronger and more determined to make records that matter. The addition of Kevin Shields for the last album, Exterminator, added a new dynamic to the take-no-prisoners Scream Team. Tonight he gurns out from the front of the stage, his new long hair (the whole band have grown their hair with varying results ;-) ) curling up the sides of his hat – he looks like Jack Nicholson from the shinning.
Tonight’s set is pretty much the same greatest hits set they’ve been touring since the release of Exterminator two years ago, played with the usual wall-of-sound gusto that we’ve come to expect. The range of music this band can draw on from Rock and Roll (Rocks), to punk funk (Kill All Hippies; Rise), to disco (Vanishing Point; Kowalski).
And tonight’s crowd is the usual eclectic mix of Scream fans linked by the common desire to get a groove on and party like they don’t have to work tomorrow. Naturally it’s the songs from Screamadelica that get the most rapturous reception from the party people – jammed as they are into a killer encore with Jailbird and Rocks from Give Out…
One has to ask where next for Bobby and the boys? This gig is a warm up for their appearance at the V festivals and they have a co-headline gig lined up for Brixton with Spiritualized in October. The advantage of being a cult band is that you don’t have to conform and can step off of the studio-album-tour roundabout. Every Scream album is a progression and it will be interesting to see where they go from here.
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