Primal Scream - Manchester Academy - 14.12.02

As Mani walks on stage at a hometown show, it's become clear that despite the fact that Mani is the only one up for the much talked about Roses Reunion he has become the acceptable face of the Scream. On the other hand Bobby Gillespie has retreated and shied away from the limelight since "Evil Heat" was released and it's a bizarre feeling that as were on the brink of war, Gillespie has also ditched the politics in favour of electroclash stylings. So how will they transfer the electro noodlings of the album to the live setting? Will Bobby regain the fire and launch a tirade? Are the scream still relevant? Sadly if we take tonight's show as an example of the Scream in 2002 then the answers are very badly, no and sort of respectively. But then again expecting these guys to play a show after a night in Manchester previously with Mani's entourage is like expecting a 3 year old to figure out a rubiks cube - tonight was always going to be chaotic, anarchic and the epitome of a debauched rock & roll band playing valiantly on.

Still transferring the predominantly electroclash workings of "Evil Heat" proves problematic and with the exception of "Miss Lucifer", "Rise" and "The Lord Is My Shotgun" much of the album truly does have b-sides written over it. Respite comes in the form of "Swastika Eyes" with Gillespie spitting out the lyrics with venomous intent while the strobes mark out our leader of the revolution. It's a strange set up for the Scream when their singles "Rocks" and "Movin On Up" are the set highlights because for me the bands best live moments are when they delve into the more leftfield experimental tracks on the "Vanishing Point" and Exterminator" albums. The sad thing about tonight's set is that these groundbreaking albums are seemingly left behind like distant relatives while their new best friend "Evil Heat" is paraded in the emperors new clothes.

But still despite tonight you get the feeling that this is just a temporary blip on the radar and without wanting to belittle the situation the problems which were all going to face next year with Bush will inspire the band to look at what's truly important. Artistically and politically will undoubtedly see the Scream regain that fire in their bellies and it's certainly going to make for an interesting journey along the way

Alex McCann

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