It takes a long time for Spiritualized mainstay Jason Pierce to crack a smile tonight.
Not until the encore does he seem to feel his job is done and a satisfied beam crosses his face as he turns to applaud the 400-strong audience who’d packed into the Brudenell Social Club for this rare intimate gig by one of British music’s most sonically adventurous groups.
The previous two hours here have been a lesson in slow-building intensity, starting with the lullaby-like Hey Jane and flicking through the back pages of Pierce’s 30-year career from Rugby drone rockers Spacemen 3 to his present day group who are in the midst of recording their eighth studio album.
Lord Let It Rain On Me, Electricity and Soul On Fire allude to the influence of the Velvet Underground, Suicide, The Stooges and MC5.
Here It Comes (The Road, Let’s Go) has a sweet, alt-country tinge. A long instrumental has something of the locked-tight, motorik groove of Can.
But it’s when Pierce delivers fearsome versions of Walkin’ With Jesus, Come Together and Take Me to the Other Side that the set really catches fire and all his fixations with repetition, noise and the redemptive power of rock ’n’ roll make perfect sense. Coupled with increasingly frantic lysergic projections, it’s a powerful cocktail.
No wonder he allows himself a satisfied smile before launching into an encore of Take Your Time. “Come on now people, get yourselves out of it,” the lyric implores. Well, quite.
Gig date: September 25