It may have been freezing outside but inside the Ulster Hall it was heating up quickly. Even with the support act not due on until after 8pm the Hall itself was beginning to fill up from 7pm and by the time the support came on the place was well filled.
Tonight was to see the return of Primal Scream to Belfast and warming up the crowd were Somebody’s Child, a five piece band from Dublin. And boy did they warm up the crowd.
With catchy indie, pop/rock tunes filled out by the raw, melancholic and rough throaty vocals there is a lonely joy to the sound that came from the stage. With wonderful songs like “Make You Alright”, “Distance”, Toes” and upcoming single “Jungle” you are just compelled to listen as the emotional crescendo of the songs mesmerise you into submission.
They really reach down and touch your soul. “Jungle” in particular, out in January 2020, has a melancholic bluesy soulful feel to it and is sure to keep Somebody’s Child on the radar for many. They are a tight group that know what they are doing.
Then came the headliners, Primal Scream, teasing the now capacity crowd with the start of “Don’t Fight It, Feel It” until they finally came onto stage with the legendary Bobby Gillespie sauntering on immediately owning the stage and everyone one on the floor. He was unmissable in his suave pink suit and his relaxed smirk.
He knew everyone was here to see him and Primal Scream. A roar as he began to sing. They didn’t let up with “Swastika Eyes” and “Miss Lucifer” coming next. The floor was heaving and writhing in psychedelic blues rock as Primal Scream head sway. After “Can’t Go Back” everyone saw that Bobby was getting serious, he took off his jacket and like a chilled out Rat pack all in one he launched into “Accelerator”.
Stopping every so often he chatted to the audience asking “Are you all having a good time so far?” and the response was a unanimous yes! Slopping into “Kill All Hippies” the crowd was just in ecstasy singing along yelling and screaming in joy as a wave of just love rolled round the Hall. There was no doubt that Belfast was incredibly happy to have these legends grace the stage.
Bobby then told the crowd that they were going to take things down a little with “(I’m Gonna) Cry Myself Blind” and “I’m losing More Than I’ll Ever have” before pulling back to the more energetic “Velocity Girl” and “Dolls (Sweet Rock and Roll”. Piling on the already incredible performance came “Burning Wheel” and “100% Or Nothing”.
Then came a massive participation for “Loaded”, it raised more than a few hairs on people’s necks on hearing the iconic intro and the riff laden funky sound of this tune. Bobby then turned to everyone and said “this next song had a choir to help us. Tonight we have you.
Will you help?” only to be answered with a resounding roar of approval. Yes, it was none other than “Movin’ On Up” and everyone sang their hearts and throats out in utter joy and to the very visible pleasure of Bobby and the band. Then even more participation was asked for with he next song, though Bobby really didn’t have to inquire, people were going to sing their lungs out to “Country Girl” What a rocking out song to hear live from the band that created it.
As with all good things, they have to come to an end, but not before an encore of “Come together” which saw people determined not to stop singing along and Bobby obliging. They joy on his face felt like a reward from a proud parent to their kids who did something really good. And it only encouraged more singing. But everyone listened when at one point Bobby brought the noise right down to almost silence before it all kicked off again. “Jailbird” just ramped it up again and finally, one of the most iconic Primal Scream songs came. “Rocks” was the perfect way to finish a perfect evening of joyous, chilled out and pumped up psychedelic, indie rock and roll. Whatever anyonecould muster was used in this final explosion of singing along as Bobby gleefully conducted the audience.
Somebody’s Child was a great act and is a band that will make it big as they just produced an electric performance that is familiar but distinctive at the same time.
Primal Scream were Primal Scream, which is enough of a descriptor in itself. Bobby and the group were phenomenal and without doubt produced a night of Maximum Rock and Roll. This is a live show that is a sin to miss. The band were relaxed, seemed to feel right at home on the stage that they dominated just by being there. This is a full package performance not to be missed. If you have an opportunity to see them, you honestly have to. What a show, what a performance and what a night. Not one person left the Ulster Hall without a smile and a feeling they had witnessed something very special indeed.
Review by Ivor Whitten
Photography by Metal Planet Music