Welcome to the musical meandering insights of Aaron Joy. Here you'll find 600 reviews of CDs & DVDs of rock & metal in all its variations, mainstream & indie. What they all share is that the album or band is unique in some way & not every submission was reviewed. Please share these reviews or link to them if you like what you read. Reviews are no longer being posted here but feel free to e-mail Aaron & post comments. (Formerly the Roman Midnight Music Blog)

Sunday, July 17, 2011

DVD: Primal Scream ~ Screamadelica Live

(Click on heading to visit official website.)
Style: alt rock, Scottish, experimental
Label: Eagle Rock Entertainment
Year: 2011
Home: Scotland


Concert location: Olympia, London, England
Year Recorded: 2010
Length: 119 minutes
Bonus Features: bonus CD of first set

Members: Bobby Gillespie ~ vocals
Andrew Innes, Barrie Cadogan ~ guitar
Martin Duffy ~ keyboards
Gary "Mani" Mounfield ~ bass
Darrin Mooney ~ drums

Additional: James Hunt ~ sax/flute
Mary Pierce, Samantha Smith, Victor Bynoe, Janet Ramus, Michelle John, Phebe Edwards, Bryan Chambers ~ b. vocals
Simon Finch, Nicol Thomson ~ horns


Commemorating the 20th anniversary of their universally recognized landmark album, seen by both fans & critics as one of the best albums of the 1990's, Scottish rockers PS performed Screamadelica live in its entirety in London in 2010. The DVD also includes a second show labeled the "rock & roll set" (including: "Accelerator", "Country Girl", "Jailbird" "Burning Wheel", "Suicide Bomb", "Shoot Speed/Kill Light", "Rocks" & "Swastika Eyes") which is a 40 minute high energy alt rock set performed earlier in the night. Both shows are excellent. PS fans should get this& those who aren't fans will find this as a good introduction to the best of PS. End of story. Well ... for those that don't know PS I guess I should explain. I'll confess that I'm not really familiar with PS outside of knowing a bit about who they are & have never heard any of their albums as their style of psychedelic influenced quasi-stoner/alt rock never has really grabbed me. I enjoy it but you find few of the albums of this genre in my collection, if any. So, this is review is not by an insider whose going to compare the live show to the original studio album, nor how the band has changed for good &/or bad. You'll get my first reviews as an outsider ... but if a band can't reach out to a person who isn't a fan they're doing something wrong. My first thoughts as the concert opens ... if U2 were more like Iggy Pop & far less polished the outcome would be this. It's funky in a way U2 sometimes want to be, it's also more experimental than I expected & less categorizable. If someone gave me tickets to either show I wouldn't be disappointed. I'm impressed. I'm interested. I want to hear more. I'm enjoying myself for a cynical outsider. For someone who doesn't know what to expect & thus the inclusion of a horn section & gospel choir during the Screamadelica set doesn't really mean anything & I'm actually a bit hesitant to watch the show knowing this is a style of music I'm unfamiliar with ... it's excellent. PS is alt rock before there was alt rock, is the best way of describing to the unitiated what they sound like. Now a bit older, but their hair is still long & they still look like Jeff Beck when he was in the Yardbirds with slacks & oh so very British suit jackets. Actually, at times they remind me of the Rolling Stones in their early days, particularly on "Rocks" & "Movin' On Up" ... that is, if the Stones hadn't been a rock band & the lead singer didn't have tourettes dance moves though at times Andrew Innes & Bobby Gillespie come close to looking like Jagger & Richards. PS's music might be full of mood changing moments perfect for the pot smoking or rave set but it doesn't come off as bombastic or pretentious or over the top or even completely drugged out ... for those of us in the clean/sober set. It's vibrant & exciting & this goes for both sets equally. Actually, it's hard to say which set is better. But, I prefer the rock'n'roll set where they just play some great guitar solos, sing some songs & keep the rhythm going for a fun show. They don't necessarily need & I don't want the beats, loops & effects that dominate Screamadelica to be entertained successfully. While the rock set isn't slowed by any ballads or extended hypnotic instrumental rave sections. As I'm unfamiliar with the original release of Screamadelica to me it feels more just like a concert with a second set that's a little less musically ambitious & unpredictable. For those that don't know, Screamadelica includes everything from techno loops & effects to acoustic moments & lengthy instrumental passages of strange sounding guitar solos & rhythms that is everything from rave & acid house to the Over Under Sideways Down era of the Yardbirds. Actually, the guitar solos are quite interesting moments in themselves & definetly help me lean to the U2 comparison as they are nothing but ambitious & experimental, without ever going over the top. New member Barrie Cadogan of the band Little Barrie is one of those really original guitarists that gets me interested as I watch him do everything I don't expect. I even bought the first Little Barrie CD on Amazon before the DVD was over to hear more from him. As for over the top, this is one of the tightest shows I've seen where everything is perfectly in place & there doesn't seem to be any improvisation or uncordinated moments. It might also sound odd to say but there's also something very un-American about the music. Maybe Radiohead might come close but between the lights, retro clothing & Ramones hairdos, the playing, the psychedelic influences the result is a style all its own. Considering that "Slip Inside This House" from Screamadelica is a take on the 1967 13th Floor Elevators song the psychedelic influence is no casual observation on my part, let alone the use of classic model guitars. For someone who doesn't know the band nor even this style of music the more it plays the more I get interested. I'm pulled into their world. There's an intensity about the performance that I can't ignore. For a live concert if that's not happening then the gig is potentially a failure. For an introduction to PS you can't go wrong getting this DVD, even over buying one of their CDs as there's a visual element here if for no other reason than the retro look. It helps that includes two set showing two sides of the band. Includes a bonus CD of the Screamadelica set which makes up for the complete lack of linear notes.

Track listing: Movin' On Up
Slip Inside This House
Don't Fight It, Feel It
Damaged
I'm Coming Down
Shine Like Stars
Inner Flight
Higher Than The Sun
Loaded
Come Together
Accelerator
Country Gil
Jailbird
Burning Wheel
Suicide Bomb
Shoot Speed/Kill Light
Swastika Eyes
Rocks

Bonus CD: Movin' On Up

Slip Inside This House
Don't Fight It, Feel It
Damaged '
I'm Coming Down
Shine Like Stars
Inner Flight
Higher Than The Sun
Loaded
Come Together





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