It’s with the excitement of a four year old girl at Christmas that Webcuts moseys on over to Brisbane’s Tivoli to check out Primal Scream. Now it cannot be overstated that, while these guys have toured with constant regularity overseas, it’s been nine long years since we last saw them on these shores. Stopping off in a bar round the corner before hand and watching a guy walk in with his badly faded Elastica T-shirt you can’t help feel a little tremble of anticipation. This is going to be an event, right? Surely people have been waiting since that guy’s shirt was new. Almost a decade away and we’ve got a lot to catching up to do.
It’s then disappointing for tonight’s openers Wolf & Cub to come on to a crowd which we would be polite in describing as sparse. Maybe the twin pronged drum attack and 70s stoner rock just doesn’t cut it round these parts — and we have to agree. This is sprawling in a way that evokes tie dye and incense. Maybe that’s a disservice to the boys and we’re missing the point. Maybe Jazz tangents are just not what we’re after tonight, but wasn’t that what Punk set about to destroy?
That’s not what we’ll get from the Scream though. We expect the classics and a few new ones thrown in for good measure. Opener “Kill all Hippies” blows the cobwebs off the crowd and is the perfect antidote. This is going to be great. Wait what’s that, a fairly anonymous “amps up to eleven” rocker is played but maybe it’s just a false start and they’ll play to the crowd next. Or next. Wait here’s “Jailbird”, that’ll show the young scamps what proper 70s rock can sound like, but then it’s back to the lacklustre new material. It’s lapped up by some of the starved masses here tonight but there are few too many scratched heads for our liking. This should be like a homecoming; the Scream back to claim their mantel as one of the best live bands around.
Now it’s probably the right time to get this out the way, Webcuts didn’t much like The Primal’s last record Beautiful Future despite it being hailed as return to form across the board. The title track is probably the best represented here but it just doesn’t cut it live either. The album is played almost in its entirety but the chinks of light breaking through from some bona fide classics show what we are missing. It’s only when we get the machine gun salvo of quintet “City”; “Shoot Speed, Kill Lights”; “Swastika Eyes”; “Moving on Up” and “Rocks” that they show what they really can do.
Are we spoiled by the recent spate of band reformations and the Don’t Look Back events where classic albums are played in their entirety to the adoring masses? Really for a band that’s still touring and releasing records should we expect any less than for them to be plugging their latest release? Who knows but for half an hour tonight Primal Scream were incredible, you couldn’t imagine any band anywhere bettering them. We feel teased. Come back, and don’t leave it so long next time eh lads.