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Primal Scream, Brian Jonestown Massacre, Kuroma @ The Fillmore, 3/17/09

March 18, 2009

I decided to go early tonight. I was viewing this show as a co-headliner affair: I love Brian Jonestown Massacre, and I really like Primal Scream.

The Fillmore was practically empty as I walked into the ballroom and claimed a spot at the rail. Promptly at 8, Kuroma opened the show. Lead singer Hank Sullivant is obviously the center of the show here, as he has been pegged as an industry rising star. He’s a founding member of The Whigs, a touring member of MGMT, and now Kuroma is his outlet for ‘expressing himself’. I got a little lost in the mix. I didn’t find the tunes particularly catchy, I found his vocals to be a poor man’s Tom Petty at times, and sometimes the execution felt a little messy. As soon as he announced they were from Athens, GA, I understood. I tend to not like Athens bands. From REM to Drive-By Truckers to the nearby Deerhunter, I get a little bored with their brand of rock. The song that they ended with was much better, but due to the lack of a myspace, I can’t tell you what it was…


Bring on BJM! Last time I saw them, also on a Tuesday night, but a headlining set at The Independent, the show was kind of a brilliant mess. And I couldn’t even make it to the end as they started so late and barely made it through four songs in the hour plus I was able to see them. Yet, here I am, standing right in front of Anton, begging for more, and wondering how they will pull this off as an opener at the strict timekeeper that The Fillmore is. The were on really good behavior. It took a bit for them to set up, and Anton apologized as they missed soundcheck. He started on one of his monologues, which I could barely hear even though I was standing right in front of him. He talked about how they’ve been playing this town for 19 years, and how their very first show they sold 700 tickets, twice. Everyone applauded Joel when he came onstage last. They launched into their first song, ‘Whoever You Are’. Their sound is so multilayered with four guitars up there. Anton, as usual, is constantly fiddling with his equipment, giving you the impression that he is never fully satisfied with the sound. A few songs in, it is apparent that he begins to play something different than the setlist spelled out, as they all look at him to catch on while he bends his knees and bobs his head to coax them along with him. Beyond this and a small moment where he seemed to instruct the drummer to sharpen up his beats, they played a set devoid of drama. Anton even dedicated a song to those that had recently lost their jobs. Regardless of this, Anton remains on my list of True Rock Stars- eccentric, unpredictable, reckless, and brilliant. They promoted their Independent show, saying “we’ll have tons of time for that tomorrow”. It was too short, very polished, and made me really want to go to their headlining set tonight…


Primal Scream. Kind of funny to see a Scottish band on St. Patty’s Day. They’ve been around a long time, but this is their first US tour in quite a while. They have constantly reinvented themselves, which made their two hour set some kind of genre tour. Lead singer Bobby Gillespie is an enigmatic front man, regardless of his Prince Valiant haircut and his somewhat awkward movements. He waves his hands and stomps his feet in his modest suit, as Barrie Cadogan handles rhythm guitar at his side, dressed in dapper biz casual with white pointy shoes. Mani, formerly of the Stone Roses (who are rumored to reunite), rocked the bass. On my side, original member Andrew Innes played a mean, loud guitar, dressed in an outfit reminiscent of the Skipper.

It was fucking loud. At the start of the set, it almost seemed that everyone had been there to see BJM, and was sticking around as a bonus. But as the set went on, the crowd’s energy surged, as did the band’s. When the lights weren’t temporarily blinding me, or the fog floating in my line of sight, a narrow stream of green lasers pulsed from the rear of the stage. Occasionally, Gillespie would stick his hands through the lasers, after encouraging us to clap. I hate being encouraged to clap, but I was in the front, so I felt compelled.

As usual, super drunk girls surrounded me. One was trying to get all up in the security guy’s business, seriously, WTF? Another girl and guy were ecstasy dancing- you know what I mean- and he took his shirt off and the security guy made him put it back on, to which his girlfriend responded “FAGGOT!”. Geez.

Highlights for me were ‘Swastika Eyes’, ‘Rocks’, and ‘Accelerator’. The energy level of the guys on stage had peaks and valleys. I don’t know if it was the long two hour set, the composition of the genres in the setlist, or age, but there were definitely some stronger moments than others. Mirroring this, there were moments were they had me, and ones where my mind wandered.

When they came back for the encore, Mani put on a (faux?) furry hat with two tails that looked like pigtails. It was quite hilarious. An additional four songs, and we left ears buzzing to collect our free posters (I’m 4/4 at The Fillmore this year!)

BJM Setlist:
Whoever You Are
Oh Lord
New Song (from Iceland)
Got My Eye On You
Hide and Seek

Primal Scream Setlist:

Kill All Hippies
Can’t Go Back
Miss Lucifer
Suicide Sally
When The Bomb Drops
Beautiful Future
Higher Than The Sun
Beautiful Summer
Deep Hit
Suicide Bombs
Sick City
Shoot Speed
Swastika Eyes
Movin’ On Up

Necro Hex
Country Girl

OVERALL: 8.5/10
Primal Scream performance: 8/10
BJM performance: 9/10
Kuroma performance: 5/10
venue (The Fillmore): 9/10
crowd/scene: 8/10
value ($30.00/ticket): 9/10
memorable: 8/10


  1. Nice! I agree with you completely about Anton.. The first time I saw BJM their set lasted less than 40 minutes 'cause Anton threw a drinking glass at a guy in the crowd and jumped off the stage to fight him… but the next time I saw BJM it was unbelievably brilliant and mind blowing..

  2. 'Eccentric, unpredictable, reckless, and brilliant.'

    When it comes to Anton Newcombe, I'd personally replace 'brilliant' with 'supremely self-destructive'. I hadn't heard anything about him recently, and to be honest, I'm quite surprised that he's still among the living.

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