Friday 30 April 2010

The Primitives at Scala - 29 April 2010

Tracy Tracy of The Primitives

I’m not really sure why I’m here.

Back in the heady days of 1988 I never paid much attention to The Primitives. They were always that poppy, quite good band on Top Of The Pops. The sort that appeared for one week only and then disappeared as their record plummeted down the charts seven days later.

And yet their legacy has lived on, even though the band split up in 1992. ‘Crash’, a song about drugs, has been appropriated for a road safety campaign, becoming so ubiquitous that it is impossible to hear the track without flinching involuntarily at the prospect of some poor sod flying off their motorbike.

Before we get to the 2010 Primitives, we have support slots from Deep Cut and The Tamborines.

Deep Cut are a peculiar amalgam of droning, buzzing, feedbacking guitars and a peripatetic James Last horn section who appear periodically through the dry ice. The band is fronted by the striking but stern Emma Bailey, whose voice struggles to compete with the noise generated by the various factions on stage. Deep Cut are a bit of a hodge podge that doesn’t really hang together as a coherent whole.

The Tamborines, on the other hand, are drilled to protection, their My Bloody Mary Chain white noise scree-pop marshalled by thunderous drumming.

Guitarist Henrique squalls through great sounding but, let’s be honest, same-y tracks such as ‘Sally O’Gannon’ and ‘Come Together’. Keyboardist Lulu Grave is equally impressive, although she sadly persists with one of the least flattering hair do’s in rock.

The Tamborines are bang on form tonight, the best that I have seen them. They go down well with the crowd.

After a lengthy wait, The Primitives take the stage. Although obviously a little longer in the tooth (ain’t we all?) they are still spry. And so, more importantly are their songs.

The focal point remains the truly tiny singer Tracy Tracy, who is so diminutive that all you can see is a sparkle and a smile and a flash of her still wondrous eyes. She can also teach the Deep Cut a thing or two about projecting your voice over a full band.

The Primitives’ set spans their whole career, from their punky origins and tracks such as ‘Stop Killing Me’ to their woozy, slightly psychedelic power pop stage that includes hit singles ‘Thru The Flowers’, “Way Behind Me” and the aforementioned ‘Crash’, which is dispensed with halfway through the set.

A very rowdy and dangerous mosh pit develops, with hordes of meaty fifty year old blokes crashing into each other. They are loving it, but they’ll feel the bruises tomorrow.

The Primitives are great fun this evening, and fully justify their decision to reform in the aftermath of the sad death of bassist Steve Dullaghan. Catch them at Indie Tracks.

And be safe on the road.

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