Backed by an orchestra AND a choir
Given that one of Primavera’s more long-standing traditions is for bands to debut new albums, and that Spiritualized’s much-delayed follow-up to 2012’s ‘Sweet Heart Sweet Light’ seems finally due later this year, one could be forgiven for anticipating a set of entirely unfamiliar material tonight as Jason Pierce et al opened this year’s festival. However, the band keep their cards close to their chest in that regard, delivering instead a greatest-hits set of trademark euphoric-cosmic-gospel fuzz-flecked space-rock as only they know how, backed with 20-odd strings and brass and an eight-piece choir to a full house at the appropriately space-age Auditori venue at the Parc Forum.
On the one hand, this is undeniably brilliant: both ‘Shine A Light’ and ‘Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space’ make brilliant use of the hall’s precision acoustics and the extra musicians to build from weary, fragile torch songs to something intimidatingly meaty and sensorily overpowering, ‘Electric Mainline’’s polyrhythmic puzzles are even more satisfyingly dense after 25 years of refinement, and ‘She Kissed Me (And It Felt Like A Hit)’ – the band’s only foray tonight into their garage-rock side – is thunderous and fierce.
‘I Think I’m In Love’, too, with a classy modification of the call-and-response backing vocals performed in Spanish, continues to swagger with more groove than any love song to heroin reasonably should. That all of these are developed well beyond their recorded versions, too, is a treat, and the sign of a band clearly still interested in exploring new ideas.