Last Saturday, 27 November, I relived the early 90s, in fine form. When Primal Scream brought out its seminal album, Screamadelica, in 1991, it quickly became the cornerstone of the soundtrack to my student days. Over the 20 years that have passed, it’s been elevated to classic status and its songs are like dear old friends that are still given a turn at most parties. In fact, my friends, Nicky and SP, even walked down the aisle to Screamadelica when they got married in June this year.
Over the years, I’ve seen The Scream play many times but this gig, celebrating the 20th anniversary of Screamadelica, promised to be the best yet. We arrived, embodying the words of Screamadelica’s ‘Loaded’: “We wanna be free to do what we wanna do. We wanna have a good time… We’re gonna have a party.” And The Scream made sure we did.
After a blinding warm up that could normally pass as a stand-alone gig, full of the greatest hits from their other albums, and a quick DJ set by Andy Weatherall, Bobby G and the boys stormed back on stage to play Screamadelica in its entirety. They were fantastic. The euphoric, feel-good factor they generated back in the day was present in bucket loads. They sounded brilliant: Bobby’s vocals were as piercing and distinctive as ever, the guitar and bass rocked, and the drums were literally and figuratively banging. The awesome gospel singers accompanying them and dazzling stage graphics helped bring the whole thing to a state of euphoria. Screamadelica felt and sounded as anthemic, and as relevant, as it ever did, and the crowd of original Scream fans absolutely loved it.
I’m assured that Olympia Kensington’s drafty venue was chosen on purpose, to recreate the warehouse party feel of the day. If that’s true, it was a nice touch. I’m sure it was the closest that most people in there had been to a warehouse party for a very, very long time. I watched it surrounded by old and newer friends. Just the way it should be. And that night, we all felt like we were 20-something again! When we left, riding that wave of euphoria, we truly did feel “Higher Than The Sun”.