Being one of the greatest contemporary Scottish bands bears the burden of being held to a high standard. When you create remarkably transcendent music played repeatedly over games of pool among sad youths in downtrodden schemy pubs dreaming of triumph and escape, you attain a social responsibility way beyond any political representative.
Primal Scream need to be good. They mean a lot to people. To us; to the ones that love but fail, that need but can’t get, that are searching for that euphoric moment that might evaporate the painfully banal quotidian of life, if only temporarily.
The arrival of the band marks the arrival of the moment, and the rest of the set is a fight (audience and act) to achieve something beyond the context we all find ourselves in: a bunch of drenched people chugging way overpriced drinks and smoking fearfully under mercurial clouds.
The Scream do their best (the emergence of the sun improving the mood substantially) by playing an appropriate mix of old, new, and of course, the ones that mean the most near the end. Loaded is the highlight, an opiate wave of joy and camaraderie washing over the crowd and turning us all into peace and love and jelly; “I don’t want to lose your love” canonised to the mantra of our desires and taking on a beautifully collective meaning amongst all the celebratory revellers.
But with sickening optimism, always accompanies a sneer of danger and fear of disaster. A beer thrown on stage prompts Bobby Gillespie to remark, “If you’re going to throw beer, throw it down your throat,” before gazing glaze-eyed into a bemused and suddenly subdued crowd.
Perhaps though, it is the danger and fear and uncertainty that makes a band like this so great; rock and roll is long dead, someone needs to hold up the mast and represent something in a world with no representation. It is not the best gig, but it is not the worst. More importantly, a beautifully iconic band turned up to a remote grey and rainy city to illuminate, eviscerate, and blow the minds of as many people as possible. It worked for some.