The 90’s space rock jammers known as Spiritualized made a stop by Brooklyn’s aptly opulent King’s Theater in celebration of their first album in six years called And Nothing Hurt. There was no opener, but they effortlessly filled up the night with lengthy songs that each felt like a brand new rebirth, and in each expansive tome that filled up the night’s set there was a tale of rediscovery, and in every lengthy epic there was plenty of time given to grow and evolve. Their songs may often be rather trippy, but frontman and sole original member Jason Pierce (aka J Spaceman) would probably scoff at being labeled psychedelic, and rightly so, as most of their songs seem to more fit for with a Exile-era Stones slammer or a dark Leonard Cohen hymn than a jam band freak-athon.
Their songs may be long, but each one has a clear vision and purpose and always carries deeply emotional lyrical weight. A few tracks do get enveloped into walls of chaotic sound that would make My Bloody Valentine weep in envy, harking back to Pierce’s beginnings with the 80’s noise experimenters Spacemen 3, but most of the tunes feel like a mighty gospel to spiritual reawakening, once again staying true to their name. It should be no surprise that seeing Pierce and company is much like going to church and having a holy out-of-body experience is just part of beholding the magic that is a Spiritualized show.
They may be a 90’s band that had no huge hit to hang their hat on, but their influence is undeniable, with the recent shoegaze craze and psychedelic rock resurgences. Their legions of fans that pack their shows prove their longevity, and their unique and very personal musical taste easily transcends genres and labels. Pierce is by no means the stereotypical ego-freak rock god, as he stays perched on a seat on the side of the stage for the whole show, and he remains mysterious behind a thick pair of sunglasses and a swirling wall of guitar sounds. Instead of dancing and gyrating center stage, he allows the expansive mass of musicians that comprise his backing band to fill the whole of the stage just as he lets the music fulfill the vastness of each note and melodic swell.
It seemed like he came armed with a massive army to play with. The lineup contained not only a grand rock band complete with two lead guitarists, but also had a string and brass section and a gospel choir to boot (the Wordless Music Orchestra and the Brooklyn Interdenominational Choir respectively). The visual senses were also quenched by a colorful light and video show that gave considerable weight to the grandeur of the compositions. They opened with a number of their classics, before they drifted into their new album, which has fast become one of my faves of the year, which they played in full, followed by an encore of even more favorites. It was as close to a religious rock experience as you can have and I hope I don’t have to wait another decade before experiencing that ecstasy again.
Article: Dean Keim