Review: Primal Scream’s Screamadelica live at Castlefield Bowl

The 90s hit record was given a fresh revisit last weekend in Manchester

Review: Primal Scream’s Screamadelica live at Castlefield Bowl

Screamadelica, the third album from psychedelic rock heroes Primal Scream, gained immense popularity following its release in 1991, and has since grown to be one of the most iconic and recognisable albums in history. To round off Manchester’s 2022 Sounds of the City festival, the Scottish legends graced the stage at Castlefield Bowl, playing the record cover-to-cover.

Walking on to Andy M. Stewart’s I Belong To Glasgow, Bobby Gillespie was adorned in a bright red suit that proudly displayed the famous Screamadelica artwork, which was created for the album by Paul Cannell. Beginning the set on the same note as the album, the famed Moving On Up had its moment in the spotlight, with the entire audience singing along in a spine-tingling manner.

Accompanying the band were a 5-piece, all-female choir, who provided the sensational choral backing vocals that famously decorate Screamadelica. Gillespie was keen on getting the audience involved, clapping, cheering, chanting and extending tracks with repeated lyrics. A prime example of this was during Come Together, when the crowd were in unison reciting “One, come together as one”. Hearing nearly ten thousand voices unite to create a force of good was very special, and definitely a moment I won’t be forgetting in a hurry.

Making their way through the rest of the album, title track Screamadelica and Higher Than the Sun were notable highlights, and the band departed the stage after their 10th track, Shine Like Stars, with Gillespie commenting “this one is a bit of a lullaby before we hit the real rock n’ roll!”. 

For the encore, the bass seemed louder, and the energy from the audience more charged, as the famed and acclaimed album closer Loaded hit our ears. There wasn’t a still body in the arena, as everyone was grooving and dancing to the paced beat. This was followed up, and potentially even topped by Swastika Eyes, a track taken from their sixth studio album, XTRMNTR. The visuals were immense throughout the entire performance, but I found them to be particularly eye-catching during this track. There was an absolute wall of energy that emanated from the stage, and I think that may have been the most surprising moments of my live music experiences this year so far. I was genuinely taken aback by just how incredible it was. 

Other fan-favourite tracks, Jailbird, Country Girl and Rocks were featured in the encore, and for the latter two, Primal Scream were joined onstage by Mani, former bassist for both Primal Scream and The Stone Roses, as a special guest appearance. 

Overall, I expected big things from Primal Scream, and yet somehow they still exceeded my expectations. It’s impressive that a band formed in the 80s can still hold an audience captive in the way that I witnessed here, and not at all feel subpar. 31 years on from its release, Screamadelica holds up impressively well, and after hearing it live, I can definitely say that the psychedelic influence posted upon the album make total sense. 

The band continue to tour Screamadelica through the summer, with the tour initially organised to celebrate the album’s 30th anniversary, but delayed a year due to restrictions. The show will be available to catch in London, Standon and Cardiff, and if you have the chance, I strongly recommend attending.


Lucy Evans

Lucy Evans Kickstart

Media Sub-editor at Voice. Sign language enthusiast, frequent gig attendee, cloud enjoyer, artist, and volcano lover. I love bees.

Recent posts by this author

View more posts by Lucy Evans


Post A Comment

You must be signed in to post a comment. Click here to sign in now

You might also like

Darkside Walt’s Musical Chronicles: Crafting Stories Through Song

Darkside Walt’s Musical Chronicles: Crafting Stories Through Song

by Cloutfly ㅤ

Read now