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Jason and the Astronauts
The audience had plenty of reasons to stay rooted to the spot and be blown away by this gorgeous cascade of sound
Eamon Sweeney, 11 Oct 2001
An ‘evening’ with Spiritualized? It’s hardly going be Carry On Coming Down hilarity is it? More like the late night student stoner choice for soundtracking movies with the sound turned down. Since Spiritualized last brought their head-spinning strobe-strewn show to Liss Ard ‘98, their final engagement with Sean Cook, Mike Mooney and Jason Reece still in this supersonic squad, there have been bitter personal wranglings, sudden sackings and a comeback album that has divided and disappointed a fervent following.
Tonight, Jason Pierce croons from stage left, tenderly hunched over his microphone. As ever, there are no good evenings, thank you’s or any unnecessary banter. Its on with the business in hand; giving the audience plenty of reasons to stay rooted to the spot and be blown away by this gorgeous cascade of sound. Only four tracks from Let it Come Down get an airing (the more cynical should omit the ‘it’ and ‘come’), and the superb current single ‘Stop Your Crying’ bizarrely doesn’t get a look in. Instead, we have a perfect ‘Shine A Light’ with the six piece brass ensemble tackling an enhanced version that even eclipses the rendering on the perfect Live At The Royal Albert Hall album. ‘Electric Mainline’ is the only thing that sounds stilted tonight, the sole moment where you suddenly miss the edgy structured chaos of Spiritualized of yore. But from then on, its
really show time. ‘Take Your Time’/‘Take Good Care of It’ is segued beautifully into one neatly packaged cosmic fusion of improvised pop. ‘Let it Flow’ is immense and towering, peaking in an explosion of melancholic euphoria. ‘Won’t Get to Heaven (The State I’m In) and ‘Don’t Just Do Something’ show how good the new album could have been. Finally, the trainspotters get an early Christmas pressie with the Spaceman 3 oldie ‘Take Me to the Other Side’ plus a great version of ‘Lord Can You Hear Me?’ which is mercifully spared of the bombast that sabotaged the recently ill advised re-recording.
Tonight was a greatest hits run-through of sorts, but also a rousing reminder of how good an evening with Jason Pierce as host can be. Ladies and Gentlemen, he is still floating in space.