Monday, May 26, 2008
Take Me To The Other Side
So, last week, I saw Spiritualized.
And -oh- what a life affirming, soul nourishing, wonderful, magical, spine tinglingly fantastic night it was. Spiritualized are one of those bands that mean something deep to me. There's just something special about them. The themes Jason Pierce writes about... Love. Drugs. God. Death... They could so easily sound clunky and trite. It's the indication of true genius that they don't. In fact, they sound sublime. I use the word genius too often, but it feels like you're in the presence of a genuine musical visionary.
Spiritualized, and Pierce's earlier band Spacemen 3, have never been shy in referencing their own personal heroes: The Velvet Underground, Suicide, The MC5, The Rolling Stones (when they were good), and so on... But tonight, it feels like watching a band that wouldn't be out of place in that hallowed list. There's something out of time about them. In a world of flipchart indie (not my phrase sadly, but you know, immediately, what I mean) Spiritualized feel timeless and legendary. Not in a dadrock way. There's supreme musicianship, and earnest soulful lyrics, sure, but a degree of emotional depth and aural anarchy that makes them so unique.
Maybe it's the drugs, maybe it's the heartbreak (dumped for Richard Ashcroft?! Ouch!), maybe it's the near death experience. Or maybe it's just the fact he's been around for so long. But J Spaceman seems completely real and yet utterly untouchable onstage. For one of the few times in my life, I am completely mesmerised. The band don't put a foot wrong. There's a mixture of tunes, old and new. Tellingly, new single, 'Soul Of Fire' is almost impossibly moving. The Spacemen 3 songs sound as fresh as the more recent Spiritualized stuff. The only complaint I could have is that they could've played for another 3 or 4 hours and I would've wanted more.
Throughout, Jason barely acknowledges the audience, remaining enigmatic til the end... but with the closer 'Lord Can You Hear Me?' ringing in our ears, the crowd goes absolutely crazy. Jason applauds the backing singers, applauds the audience, and the emotion on his face is plain to see. I almost blub like a baby. I mean, come on, the guy nearly died! Anyway, enough eulogising. Put simply, this was quite comfortably one of the best gigs I've ever been to.
I've heard Spiritualized can be hit and miss live. Appropriately enough, you can chalk this up as a HIT. Can't wait to see them at Glastonbury.
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