:: Article

Vox Hurricana – Spiritualized live

By Andrew Stevens.


Spiritualized Accoustic mainlines, Shepherds Bush Empire, 26 April 2007

Since the acrimonious parting of the ways for Spacemen 3 – with co-songwriters Jason Pierce (J. Spaceman) and Peter Kember (Sonic Boom) founding Spiritualized and Spectrum (gotta love the Sp) respectively, it has been the solidly more coherent and commercial outfit of the two that’s kept on the road and released a solid body of albums over the past 15 years. For Kember, it’s been a case of now obscure space pop albums, the last of which was released a decade ago (with vague rumours of a new one for half of that time). For Pierce, on the hand, it has been critical acclaim all round, as well as surviving a near-fatal illness recently. Anyone connected to either musician in a serving capacity has a tale to tell – from the summary dismissals of Cook and Mooney (who became Lupine Howl and now The Flies), Mattock and Refoy (now Slipstream, again) and Will Carruthers (now recording as freelovebabies) from Spiritualized to the various run-ins with former band members that Sonic Boom has had to endure over the years (and vice versa).

Which brings us to London – Shepherd’s Bush to be precise – and Pierce’s acoustic showcase of his material in both Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized. Augmented by strings and gospel. As far as the Spacefan’s lot goes, it doesn’t get any better than this.

The awed reverence of the crowd, mindful of the Spaceman’s recent brush with death but looking somewhat healthier for it, added to the religiosity of the occasion, embellished by the rock n’ soul gospel chorus on numbers from down the years – ‘Walking With Jesus’, ‘Feel So Sad’, ‘All of My Tears’, ‘Broken Heart’, ‘Think I’m In Love’ and a sadly truncated ‘Funeral Home’. Beyond the gospel, Pierce’s voice shone as brightly as luminescence through a cathedral window during an epiphany. Before blowing the fucking roof off, like the blast of horn at an early Sam Cook gig. Though as he also sought to convince us, “freedom is just another word”.

Andrew Stevens is contributing editor to 3:AM and lives in London.

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Friday, April 27th, 2007.