Artist: Spiritualized live Royal Leamington Spa, UK
Venue: Assembly Rooms, Royal Leamington Spa, UK
Date: 10th October 2011
Photo of Jason Pierce for Northern Transmissions by Naomi Abbs
In the opulent surroundings of the Assembly Rooms, found in the exquisitely titled, Royal Leamington Spa, a teenage dream was supposed to come true. For the first time ever I will see Spiritualized live, something I have been waiting for since the tender age of 15, a 14 year wait. I fell in love with Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space and ever since then I have been waiting patiently to see J Spaceman mesmerise me with his compelling blend of gospel tinged space rock.
The first signals on arrival at the gig weren’t good, no support act, the band aren’t due on stage until 9pm and after overhearing a conversation with the drummer and his pals, Spiritualized are going to play a set dedicated to the new album, which isn’t due out until March 2012. Even so, I kept an open mind, hoping that maybe I’d hear some choice cuts from the band’s back catalogue.
Fast forward from 7pm to 8:45pm and Spiritualized saunter onto the stage to a rapturous welcome, J Spaceman appearing on stage last settles onto what looks like the most uncomfortable office chair, clothed in a baggy Dandy Warhols T-Shirt and super fly sunglasses. The six piece, supported by two gospel backing singers, proceed to launch into an hour and a half of new material. Sadly, without grasping a single song title and failing in trying to sweet talk the sound guy into giving up the set list, I can’t divulge what key new songs to look out for. However, on the first impressions, the sonic template that Spiritualized work to is there and has been explored to the outer reaches. During the set there are moments of wide screen, squealing noise and feedback, punctuated by harsh strobe lights. Nestling up nicely to the brutal waves of noise is the other side to Spiritualized, the tender soulful edge which is conveyed by Jason Pierce’s velvet croon.
The band depart from the stage and return for a brief encore littered with rarities that only a small number of the audience recognise. One song in particular was a proverbial wrecking ball of rock n feedback that fried the senses.
On the whole, it was an excellent performance and the new material promises a superb album in the making. However tonight’s gig acted like a live rehearsal to the following nights London show at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall. A teenage dream didn’t quite come true, but with a new album due out next year and with this sneak preview still ringing in my ears, I am sure there will be plenty more opportunities for me to revisit those heady days of being 15.
Words and Thoughts of Adam Williams