at Birmingham Carling Academy
Review by Neil Connor
It promised to be a mouth-watering night of anthems by two of the finest heavyweights of the 1990s. But towering reputations sometimes can’t match towering expectations.
That said, there was enough nostalgia to give the crowd of thirty-somethings more than Euro 96 to remember that decade for.
Both these bands stood out from the banal monotony of guitar-driven Britpop last decade.
Both made coffee table music cool, but the Carling Academy is no sweaty blues club and memories of trip-hop’s hegemony faded away long ago.
Jason Pierce (AKA J Spaceman) cuts a lonely figure at the start, bringing himself right up to date by swapping his string orchestras and gospel choirs of the 1990s for only a handful of musicians.
But Spiritualized soon hit the reverse pedal as Mr Pierce delves far into his back catalogue to when he was one of Warwickshire’s most famous astronauts with Spaceman 3.
Walking With Jesus was lapped up, although the style of music more reminiscent from later Spiritualized tunes such as Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating in Space and Stop Your Crying did not seem to really penetrate the Academy.
And then for the main course. Head tilted, microphone held firmly in both hands, frontman 3-D rapped his way through songs on Massive Attack's later albums like he was idly preaching to the converted masses.
But Bristol’s finest upped the tempo – and the nostalgia intake – with hits such as Rising Son and The Hymn of The Big Wheel. It was a shame that much else that was heard at the Academy diluted this perfection.