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Live review of Spiritualized, Portmeirion


The remnants of the afternoon have finally set as Portmeirion descends into darkness. Amongst the madness of the big top which now hangs dark and heavy was now the perfect setting for the first headlines of the weekend. The cult following for Spiritualized has kept the band going, loyalty allowing them to release their seventh album ‘Sweet Heart Sweet Light’ earlier this year.

The sparse crowd stands transfixed on what appear to be an excellent display of 90’s space rock indulgence.

As visuals flicker and smoke reaches high into the big top we are treated to some new sounds such as Hey Jane a raucous crowd allowing the feet stompers to let loose. The string bending continued and the words ‘Hey Jane, when are you going to die?’ echoed high above our heads.

The hypnotic minimalism of ‘Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space’ is enjoyed by the less than compact crowd the more conventional rock lull allows Jason Pierce to maybe reminisce when the band where at their most critical acclaimed, the year they were named Album of the Year by NME.

A good ballad centred well into the set allows a reflection, gives us a chance to wonder if a headlining slot was deserved? Although polished, the feeling seems mutual among the crowds who had just seen Richard Hawley deliver a show stopping performance.

In a previous life Pierce created music with Spaceman 3 their infamous tag ‘taking drugs to make music to take drugs to’ is still evident among the workings of Spiritualized, self-indulgence that drug taking creates gives us a more heady, thrashing sound sometimes unbearable but still seeing them influencing heavily from band such as The Velvet Underground. For the finale we experience what feels like a lifetime of raucous thuds and over powering light displays and on that note J. Spaceman as he is sometimes known, vanishes into the darkness and we are left with our glasses half empty.

A varied display was witnessed, possibly a perfect fantasy setting for this trippy band but having seen a well turned out crowd throughout the evening I left the arena rather disappointed.

Laurie Rose Belle.