posted on June 05, 2008 07:20
Spiritualized (live in Tripod, Dublin)
Review Snapshot: Saints or stoners - you decide- a rejuvinated Spiritualized storm the Tripod with a set of old, rather obscure, favourites and tasters from their new album. With Jason Pierce looking merely heavily tubercular rather than close to death, the band in its current state is working a minor storm and its back catologue gets better and better with time.
The Cluas Verdict? 8 out of 10
A Wednesday in early May and I’m talking to a neighbour. "I’m going to a gig." "Who?" "Spiritualized
– Jason Pierce, the singer, has nearly died, like loads of times, he never made a penny from any of his records but he’s a genius, he does this atonal drone thing, there’s feedback, and one minute he’s all gospel, the next he’s a screaming junkie, you should see him, he looks like death warmed up. Like, literally."
"Great- we’re going to a gig to – Boyzone in Belfast, I can’t wait, a girl’s night out. "
Two weeks, three hours and twenty minutes later and Pure Phase is pumped through the speakers as an intro – it’s a synth thing from Electric Mainline and while it’s a simple single note call and response, like much of what Spiritualized do it’s effective and affecting. Jason Pierce himself looks unwell, as opposed to looking close to his last breath – last time I saw him he sat down through the entire show but tonight he’s moving unassisted. The band open with one of Songs From A&E’s lesser cuts, You Lie, You Cheat and basically set it on fire. On the album it’s an under produced filler but here it’s full of bile, madness, sadness and utterly controlled anger. The band leave the song behind and morph into a guitar driven wig out, a stinking, spitting beast of a thing, and just when you think your heart will explode in a millisecond, the band go from a blizzard of feedback to Shine a Light, one of the quietest and most serene pieces the band have recorded.
This gig is ostensibly a showcase for Songs From A&E, the new album, but it’s typical of Pierce’s cussedness that Spiritualized only play two or three of the new songs- the single, Soul on Fire, won’t sell a copy but it’s close to perfection, full of real emotion and power. Pierce also dips into Amazing Grace, one of the band’s less impressive albums for a pumped up Lord let it Rain on Me, a ripping Cheapster and a gorgeous Oh Baby. The encore just about sums up the band’s inherent contradictions, with a calculating take on Come Together, a stoner’s anthem, followed by a stunning evangelical Take Me to the Other Side. It’s a case of hymns taking on heroin but it works.
Throughout the show Doggen, the lead guitarist, more or less spars with Pierce, making sounds a guitar should never make, the coloured girls go "doo doo doo doo", and hardly a note is wasted.
Life is made up of moments, some good, some bad, some dreary – Spiritualized are contradictory, maddening and self indulgent but they have given me more spellbinding moments than most. Pierce, these days, is for him relatively robust and has a fantastic bunch of musicians around him and a back catalogue to die for. See Spiritualized if you can –and soon.