August 8, 2022

Friday on the Purple Stage, Spiritualized had been spectacular. Track after tune, Pierce and his band conjured highly effective swells of gospel-infused psychedelic rock, music that made agony really feel ecstatic and ecstasy really feel infinite. Generally, as on the pulsing, stomping opener “Hey Jane” — on which hovering lead guitar and backup vocals blurred collectively into streaks of sonic neon — the music plunged from order into noise-bombed chaos. Generally, as on “Right here It Comes (The Highway) Let’s Go,” the band let the sweetness construct unfettered. There have been callbacks to the rock ‘n’ roll canon: solos that channeled George Harrison on the country-tinged sluggish jam “I’m Your Man,” frenetic bass that evoked the Velvet Underground’s “European Son” on “The Morning After.” Whether or not within the piano-led quiet of finale “So Lengthy You Fairly Factor” or the electrified bluster of “She Kissed Me (It Felt Like A Hit),” the band by no means ceased to be majestic.

On some degree it’s stunning that Spiritualized have held on this lengthy. For a few years Pierce’s music delved deep into religious crises and struggles with substance abuse; his thematic focus was nearly monolithic for some time, and the identical experiences that knowledgeable his writing might have simply killed him. The ache in songs like “Lord Can You Hear Me” has at all times come throughout as genuine. After the chemical and the existential got here the medical: His life was threatened not less than twice, first by double pneumonia in 2005 after which liver illness in 2012. And but as Pierce has cleaned up and settled down lately, his music has been no much less impressed. The euphoric love songs that kind the inspiration of his latest sister albums, 2018’s And Nothing Damage and this 12 months’s All the things Was Lovely, are as staggeringly beautiful as something he’s finished.

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Pierce has spent many years tapping into the identical musical veins again and again, a course of that may yield diminishing returns for many. But he manages some sort of magic trick each outing, biking again by way of related non secular imagery and sonic frameworks whereas one way or the other making them really feel contemporary. Close to the top of Friday’s set, the band performed back-to-back bangers from All the things Was Lovely, the eruptive rock ‘n’ roll hymn “Let It Bleed (For Iggy)” and the lovestruck airborne epic “The A Track (Laid In Your Arms).” Slightly than retreads, these tunes felt like refinements of the Spiritualized ethos — sleek, expansive, and vibrantly, contagiously alive. My solely lament is that at simply an hour, the set was far too transient for a band that has been so good for thus lengthy.

SETLIST:
“Hey Jane”
“She Kissed Me (It Felt Like A Hit)”
“Shine A Mild”
“I’m Your Man”
“The Morning After”
“Right here It Comes (The Highway) Let’s Go”
“Let It Bleed (For Iggy)”
“The A Track (Laid In Your Arms)”
“So Lengthy You Fairly Factor”