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SPIRITUALIZED - Hammersmith Apollo, 11.10.01

SPIRITUALIZED

An Evening With Jason and Freinds was promised. An Evening with Jason and Friends was had. James Berry learns all about the new Spiritualized recovery position.

16/10/01

Lupine can Howl and bark all they like. It might have been all very well for the bitter sacked Spiritualized three, who went on to form the Bristol based hoary psychedelic rockers, to grumble all the way down to the dole office back then about how Spiritualized's engine room had been ripped out and the enigmatic J Spacemen wouldn't or couldn't recover from their absence. Ha! They didn't really think that through did they? Because eventually he was going to return and that he has with the awesome majesty of 'Let It Come Down' makes their claims look really quite stupid if truth be told. And on tonight's breathtakingly crisp warp-factor evidence that engine refit suffers not a jot from lack of miles on the clock. They may have taken the leather jackets, a bunch of yellow-brick-road guitar solos and Sean Cooke's hair with them in a huff, but they didn't see to snatch anything of any real worth from Jason Pierce's grasp.

He still remains as secretive, nervous and as recluse as ever up there, tucked away at the right of the stage, at a 90 degree angle to the audience as if this might somehow shield him from our watchful gaze. Lights rarely trouble the bodies on stage either, instead working an absorbing fantasia above. No initial noticeable change in him since dragging 'Ladies and Gentlemenů' around the country, but with the move towards coherence, clarity and classic song structures on the new album comes a new desire for his voice to be heard, and above a faint dreamy whisper at that. On bone-bare album high 'Don't Just Do Something' especially his quivering voice can be heard towering almost confidently above its stripped down simplicity, losing the strings of the recorded version, but joining with long term collaborators The London Community Gospel Choir to bring it to a rounded crescendo. It's perhaps a bit surprising that 'Let It Come Down' is only touched on in measure tonight, but even with the 20 people who grace the stage at points we don't even come close to the 100s that sculpted the album's grandeur.

So over two hours, joined by an enduring atmosphere and punctuated by strobe-fuelled intensity, we see Spiritualized and Jason Pierce for what they are, where they've gone and what they've become. The fuzzed-out, smacked-up, acid-vision of the years gone by is certainly evident, but more as a magic carpet carrying a new focus. 'Won't Get To Heaven (The State I'm In)', this album's 'Cop Shoot Cop' - also mind-blowing tonight, sums up the meeting of this man's two minds most succinctly; towering and ambitious, reflective and withdrawn. 'Electricity' may have seemed a little flimsy next to the company it chose tonight, but 'Come Together' rumbles out of the droning omnipresent background like a dormant volcano waking from slumber and is just about one of the most stunning pieces of live music Crud has ever been party to enjoy. Dipping back into 'Lazer Guided Melodies' and 'Pure Phase' days the likes of 'Take Good Care Of It', 'Shine A Light' and 'Take Your Time' glow stronger than ever and going back even further, Spaceman 3's 'Take Me To The Other Side' is rough and uncompromising. More than just an album PR this was a defiant show of strength and completion. Billed as 'An Evening With Spiritualized', it was that and more.

James Berry for Crud Magazine© 2001

 
 
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