This August, Edinburgh’s Princes Street Gardens plays host to seven individual shows. When the festival revealed their line-up earlier this year, one show in particular caught our eye; Primal Scream, with support from Johnny Marr. After witnessing the two greats back to back on the main stage of Y Not Festival in 2015, we knew that this wasn’t one to be missed.
Guitar legend Johnny Marr took to the stage at 7:30pm, kicking off proceedings with the recently released ‘Armatopia’, before bursting into the blistering opening riff of ‘Bigmouth Strikes Again’. Next came the first ‘Call The Comet’ offering of the night, ‘Day In Day Out’; accompanied by rainfall. Forever a joker onstage, Johnny wittily changed the lyrics of the chorus to “and the rain came down” – though unfortunately, him and the band were required to leave the stage at the end of the track due to a weather warning. Despite the threat of lightning, Johnny was reluctant to do so and assured the crowd that he’d be back. The band reappeared on stage 10 minutes later with Johnny rushing straight to the edge of the stage, where he launched into one of the most instantly recognisable opening riffs in British pop history; ‘This Charming Man’ before asking the crowd “now where were we?”
Though he continued the set with the melodic ‘Hi Hello’ from ‘Call The Comet’, solo material was few and far between as Johnny committed to keeping the crowds spirits up with a variety of Manchester anthems; from Electronic’Getting Away With It’ and ‘Get The Message’ to The Smiths ‘How Soon Is Now?’ The anthems didn’t stop there as Johnny explained his decision to switch out a slow track for a more appropriate one, before diving into a blazing cover of The Crickets ‘I Fought The Law’, as featured on his 2015 live album ‘Adrenalin Baby’. It was admirable to see an artist adapting their set for the benefit of their audience and it was evident that this was appreciated when Johnny dropped the penultimate track ‘Easy Money’; with its provokingly catchy nature and jagged riffs keeping the crowd dancing from start to finish. Last but certainly not least was a rousing rendition of ‘There Is a Light That Never Goes Out’ and we can safely say that Johnny Marr is more than worth going out and braving the rain for.
Primal Scream strutted onto the stage slightly later than expected, due to the brief stoppage earlier on – though the weather hadn’t dampened their moods and front-man Bobby Gillespie – dazzling the crowd with a hot pink suit – in particular sported a huge grin upon his face. The jubilant ‘Movin’ On Up’ opened the set, receiving such a huge reaction from the crowd that if you didn’t know it was the first track, you’d have thought it was an encore – a theme that continued throughout the duration of the set! Having recently released ‘Maximum Rock ‘n’ Roll: The Singles’, the band’s set was perfectly crafted for a festival; from the stomping ‘Jailbird’ to the crunching electro of ‘Kill All Hippies’. Bobby never let the energy levels dip and when ‘Come Together’ made an appearance mid-set, the crowd were just as vocal as they were at the start of the set; resulting in an electric atmosphere that only heightened when the synth-fuelled introductory riff of ‘Swastika Eyes’ kicked in.
Bobby re-introduced Johnny Marr to the stage for the last few songs; shouting “I wanna play the guitar, like Johnny Fucking Marr” whilst gazing at the guitar God in awe as he contributed to Andrew Innes’ choppy guitar during ‘Loaded’. Next came the irresistibly upbeat ‘Country Girl’, before the band triumphantly ended on a rendition of ‘Rocks’ that gave a new meaning to “the crowd went wild”. It was clear to see not just the mutual respect, but also the pure idolisation between the musicians onstage as Johnny and bassist Simone Marie – both the epitome of cool – stood back to back whilst Bobby danced around with a huge grin plastered across his face. This was a meeting of greats we’re already hoping will happen again in the future
Primal Scream embark on a UK tour in November. Tickets are available here.
‘The Bright Parade’, the new single from Johnny Marr is out now from all digital stores.