The early evening arrival of Spiritualized on Friday night is greeted by the tanked up crowd hovering around the spiky blue Fisheries Field tent with an equal mix of elation and confusion.The -Spiritualized + Primal Scream’ advertising had many gig goers under the impression Primal Scream were up first, and the gravel walkway down to the stage gave many late comers a surprise blast of the slow rockers, and diverted them from the bar queues to stage side in double quick time.
The Spiritualized boys stood in a semi circle, eying each other over their sunglasses, as if the thousands of Galwegians pushed up against the barrier had dropped in on a quiet practice session. Despite the laid back stage antics, Jason Pierce’s shoegazers wowed the crowd with slick renditions from twelve-year-old epic Ladies and Gentlemen we are Floating in Space, still memorable after all these years, interspersed with a spattering of blues-inspired newbies and playful sing along samples. The empty centre stage was soon forgotten, nothing but a void for the various band members beats to meet in the middle of and travel out to an increasingly vibrant, swaying crowd.
An hour later Primal Scream entered the fray, a brash wall of rock and roll noise to Spiritualized’s slow-building calm. Bobby Gillespie strutted and stumbled about the stage with a delicate swagger that quickly made a bouncing audience feel like the 18 years since Mercury Music Prize winner Screamadelica had never happened. We might have been transported to the early 90s, but it was more recent chart botherer -Country Girl’ that kicked the party up a notch, into beer throwing, devil horn territory.
“Go on Gillespie!” a middle aged man in an all in one Adidas tracksuit bawled over his beer between songs. A raucous crowd joined in tracks from every era of Primal Scream, and by the time the band waltzed off stage for the first time, leaving -Rocks’ ringing in our ears, they’d left no doubt that Gillespie’s boys are not a band to be consigned to the realms of history just yet. State soaked up an emphatic encore from the back, watching the Galway crowd throw shapes in front of the strobe lighting while the late evening shadows flickering across Galway Cathedral. Though the double header wasn’t the Galway Arts Festival finale, as the last major gig it certainly felt like it.