Live Review: South Facing Festival Primal Scream / Jesus & Mary Chain / The Black Angels – Crystal Palace Bowl, London 04.08.2023

Michael Hundertmark

Crystal Palace Bowl and the Park has a long history of hosting music events with the likes of Elton John, Depeche Mode at the bowl and even Bruce Springsteen playing at the Crystal Palace Sports Centre 20 odd years ago.  Now south Facing Festival is reviving the tradition by hosting a series of live events spanning over a couple of weekends! 

Tonight was the turn of Bobby Gillespie and crew to play host to a strong, dedicated fan base. ‘Primal Scream’ celebrate the 30th anniversary of their era defining ‘Screamadelica’ album this year and their delivered a blistering set at the bowl. All it took was one album to define the indie /dance crossover from the acid house period and you can tell by the audience most in attendance brought it when it first came out!

After a DJ set by London’s Sonic Cathedral record Label to get the crowds going, first up were The Black Angels with some heavy psychedelic guitar riffs and not fail to let you lose yourself with nods of Black Sabbath and  Led Zeppelin thrown with some provoking lyrics that were politically inclined! The American five piece did not slow one bit for their early support slot.

Scottish alt rockers ‘The Jesus & Mary Chain’, formed by brothers Jim & William Reid in South Lanarkshire in the early 80’s, come on stage modestly shy against the background of the sun slowly setting! They have coincidently released their new double live album ‘Sunset 666’ on this very same day. The Band played their cult favourite hit ‘Darklands’ and some deeper cuts with ‘Snakedriver’ which was much appreciated by the older fans. Even their greatest hit ‘Just like Honey’ was played with a nice touch from the backing singer Isobel Campbell.  She also features on the new version of ’Sometimes Always’ The vocals were still in tune with a feel of the 80’s overall and the set closed to a perfect ending with ‘Reverence’!

In complete contrast, Primal Scream kicks things off with a singalong as Bobby Gillespie strolls on the stage in a suit complete with the Gospel choir in the background to the opener, crowd pleasing ‘Movin’ on Up’ as everyone bellowed the words along. Gillespie gets the crowd along in his distinctive dancing style urging them to clap along!

Next came a collection from their long musical career, including ‘Can’t Go Back’ and ‘Suicide Bomb’ taken from their 2008 ‘Beautiful Future’ album.

As one of their classic surprise hits ‘Loaded’ is played out, all arms shoot in the air around the bowl and the fans young and old go mad with raw energy! Some of the older audience even sporting beanie hats in a 90’s raver style! In Primal Scream finely tuned tradition, the evening ends with an energetic ‘Rocks’ which was as relevant four decades ago as it is now when The Stones wrote it,  The excitement levels are the highest with Gillespie rooming the stage clapping from side to side! Primal Scream still prove there are still a voice of their generation and a celebration of the good times then and now, as punters were dancing in fields and carparks of the 90’s.

Primal Scream Set List:

Movin’ on Up

Can’t Go Back



Deep Hit Morning Sun

Big Jet Plane


It’s Alright It’s OK

Suicide Bomb

Come Together



Country Girl


Previous Track: Sylosis - A Sign Of Things To Come
Next Track: Spellling & The Mystery School - Hard To Please (Reprise)

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