Not one for the faint hearted

Not one for the faint hearted, tonight’s Massive Attack curated event was always going to be one for the noise addicts.

The two-part affair kicked off with Bobby Gillespie’s heady brood – scattering bullets of sound to the sedated early evening crowd and taking no prisoners. The Scream treated all gathered to the majority of their storming new album, ‘Beautiful Future’, whose pulsing rhythms and dirty soul is everything you want Primal Scream to be. The older material, whether it be the sleaze pop of ‘Rocks’, the sweeping rush of ‘Kowalski’ or the hammering beat of ‘Swastika Eyes’, fitted seamlessly in between the new material, which takes the best elements of all their abilities. The lead single, ‘Beautiful Future’, showed every sign of being a future classic, while the relentless ‘Can’t Go Back’ was the perfect closer and segue into the night’s musical partners.

Judging by the number of ageing hippies in the audience, the prospect of seeing the MC5 live tonight was a huge draw in London. Indeed, seeing survivors Wayne Kramer on guitar, Dennis Thompson on drums and Michael Davis on bass (flanked with new friends to supplement the sound and provide vocals) was a huge joy. Wheeling out biggest hit ‘Kick Out The Jams’ fairly early on was a masterstroke in driving the momentum through the evening. Infected with blues, the MC5 had the crowd on their feet and withstanding the noise to savour every moment of the reunion, while winning over younger Scream fans when confronted by the proto-punk godfathers. Ending with their prescient ‘The American Ruse’ – written at a time when Americans were dying in an unwanted war across the globe – the passion was overflowing from stage and from the overjoyed mass.

After the stage cleared, roadies scurried to prepare for the night’s climax – all of MC5 returning for their encore with all of Primal Scream in tow, with Jason Pierce of Spiritualized for good measure.

The collective launched into Primal Scream’s ‘Movin’ On Up’ to total adulation – Kate Moss and friends on their feet in the royal box and dancing their little hearts out – and finished with a medley of MC5 walls of noise.

As marriages go, Primal Scream and MC5 were made in heaven. Wouldn’t wanna pick up the reception bar tab though…
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