The official site of author Ed Lin.

Primal Scream, Webster Hall, New York City, March 28

Posted by on Apr 4, 2009 in Music | 1 comment


Kuroma, I wasn’t really into you, to be honest.

I don’t know about you, but I was psyched as hell to see that Scotland’s Primal Scream was coming to play.  I got on the bandwagon late, having been turned off by 1991’s Screamadelica, which I considered trippy hippy crap back in the day.  But I checked back on them for 2000’s XTRMNTR for two huge reasons: awesome bass player Mani (late of the Stone Roses) was now a full-fledged member; and I found a copy on double vinyl (thank you U.S. label Astralwerks!).  I was hooked right from the start with the annihilation funk of the first track, “Kill All Hippies” and loved the album all the way through to closer “Shoot Speed Kill Light,” lyrically inspired by Motorhead’s eponymous track.

Time hasn’t been kind to the Scream.  I’ve heard conflicting information, but this was their first New York show and American tour in years.  Mani said onstage that they haven’t played here in nine years, but singer Bobby Gillespie later said that “five years” has been too long to not play the city.  On top of this, the Scream’s new album Beautiful Future isn’t yet available domestically in the U.S. (not even on iTunes!  C’mon, Steve Jobs, you hippy!)

Opening band Kuroma came out with just two members, one on guitar and one on recorder and vocals.  It was a bit of a head fake, as the rest of the band piled in later, but it was annoying enough so that I kinda tuned them out.  Unlike most of New York, I make it a point to show up on time to catch the opening bands, because you never know what you’re going to see.  I got to see huge upsets, such as Sunny Day Real Estate opening for Velocity Girl at CBGB in 1994, and Nirvana opening for Tad at Maxwell’s in 1989 (with about 25 people in the audience), but tonight wasn’t one of them.


Bobby: “I’m gonna scream and scream again!”

About 9 o’clock the Scream hits the stage.  Bobby is looking stringbean thin, tall with black hair.  Christ, he even looks hapa!  Longtime guitarist Robert Innes has a jaunty hat and western shirt on.  With his graying hair, he seems like Captain Sensible‘s older brother who is just a touch more reserved. Mani, with striped shirt on, is bouncing like a kid coming down the stairs Christmas morning. A nice touch is that he’s hacked out the “Marshall” nameplate on his bass amp and replaced it with “Mani”!  To his right is Barrie Cadogan on guitar, or maybe it’s 70’s Jimmy Page’s doppelganger.  Can’t see the drummer too well and a keyboardist is similarly hidden behind his equipment.

Maybe it’s too obvious to start out with “Kill All Hippies”?  But, whatever, man, it’s great.  “Miss Lucifer” makes an early appearance, as well, and sounds better than the studio version.  Innes riffs like hell all over the place and actually upstages Bobby in terms of providing visual enthusiasm.


You go, Robert Innes!

There were  John Edward (he of “Crossing Over”) moments on the choruses to “Movin’ On Up,” when disembodied background female voices chimed in.  There were some flourishes on the keyboards and someone (a male) back there waved to the crowd.

“Country Girl” on the first encore was great, if coming off as calculated.  The second encore was an extended “Accelerator,” ending with, what else, bass and guitars against the amps, pouring feedback over the crowd.

It’s only 10:30 pm on a Saturday night and the show’s over, but not for me.  Not until I buy my “Kill All Hippies” shirt from the merch table, put it on and head out into the rainy New York night.

One Comment

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  1. Brian Macken

    My first date with my wife was the Sunny Day Real Estate show where they opened up for Velocity Girl at CBGB’s. Neither of use can remember the exact date. Do you have any idea of the exact date? We have been celebrating June 21st all these years but we would love to know for sure. If you know, we will be forever grateful.


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