not a member? click here to sign up
Craig Fitzpatrick, 17 Apr 2012
Ladies and gentlemen, we are floating in Vicar St. And Elvis has just entered the building. Yep, you guessed it, we’re two-thirds through Spiritualized’s Saturday gig (the night the clocks go forward, but most here won’t miss the hour). If things weren’t completely celestial before, the melody to ‘I Can’t Help Falling In Love’ has just wandered into ‘Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space…’. It’s a beautiful moment supplied by Jason Pierce’s two backing singers, but it’s just one of many this evening. And that’s what Spiritualized’s leader, aka J. Spaceman, is forever searching for live. He’s spoken about his disdain for record-making, how he hates trying to bottle the moment. He prefers making spontaneous ones onstage and then dragging the feeling in the groove, riff or line out for as long as possible. It’s how he can offer up a 20-minute space odyssey without ever boring or seeming indulgent. It’s all there to serve the experience, and Vicar St. certainly gets one tonight. It also helps that the venue’s sound is flawless.
Pierce stands stock-still, dressed in white, shades on, not uttering a word to the audience. If this is him in his element, his poker face is strong. Just like his set. There’s a forthcoming album to promote, Sweet Heart Sweet Light, and the direct pop route he’s taking this time is revealed with opener ‘Hey Jane’, a chugging, straight-ahead rocker that wears its love for The Velvets’ Loaded on its leather sleeve. The new material is inspired by Pierce’s recent live performances of Ladies And Gentlemen…, so it’s no surprise that both feature prominently.
Elsewhere, there’s tenderness as Pure Phase’s ‘Lay Back In The Sun’ twinkles like a fond memory, and Amazing Grace’s ‘O Baby’ twinkles romantically before erupting into a hurricane of organ, guitar squall and yearning. The mid-‘90s brace of ‘Born, Never Asked’ and ‘Electric Mainline’ is a hypnotising wander through the cosmos, increasing in tempo to a swirling visual backdrop before the pay-off leaves us dizzy and tumbling down the rabbit hole. An aural trip to cherish. But it is the Ladies And Gentlemen… material that brings us home and leaves the longest impression. ‘Come Together’ still sounds monstrous. A warning from the gods, delivered via-rock ‘n’ roll, it either makes you feel ten stories tall or two-foot small, depending on your disposition. ‘Electricity’ thrills us into the encore, ‘Stay With Me’ drifts by like a modern ‘Albatross’ taking flight, and it all ends with a brooding, darkly funky rendition of ‘Cop Shoot Cop’ that should never end. Show over, the crowd are happily dazed, and Jason Pierce is suddenly the most animated person in the room. Shades still on, he cracks a smiles, raises his arms and claps his hands. As much applauding those magic moments he’s managed to conjure up as the adoring onlookers, no doubt. And they deserve it.