Spiritualized – Live At The Camden Roundhouse

Jason Pierce of Spiritualized and backing singers at Camden Roundhouse

Jason Pierce and his band Spiritualized played The Camden Roundhouse last night.

Reason I’m not cool #348:

Despite Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space being the NME Album of 1997 (beating Radiohead’s OK Computer no less) I had always avoided Spiritualized like the plague. The reason for this rather odd situation is that I didn’t particularly like the single Daddy Was An Alcoholic. It was a bit annoying and so I couldn’t really understand what all the fuss was about.

It wasn’t until a year or so ago that I realised that DWAA was actually by Starsailor, and not Spiritualised. As you can imagine, I felt such a fool. Until my wife told me that she thought Spiritualized sang All You Good Good People, which the last time I checked was by Embrace. I have no idea why this band should be so cursed – possibly because they don’t get much radio play? Or perhaps I’m just a bit useless…

I picked up a copy of LAGWAFIS, which was superb in a space-rock-meets-indie-meets-psychedelia kind of way and never looked back. New album Sweet Heart Sweet Light is also excellent.

Which led me to check out Jason Pierce’s band live for the first time at the Camden Roundhouse last night. Pierce was recently quoted in Drowned In Sound (an excellent interview by the way) as saying he disliked the sing-a-longs so beloved of festival crowds. “Really, the audience would sing We’ll Meet Again if it was playing” he said, suggesting certain bands enjoy the massage to their ego they get from having a festival crowd singing along. Pierce isn’t the first to notice a link between rock stars and their sensitive egos, but that comment did mean I was rather expecting a sullen faced Jason Pierce and very little interaction with the crowd.

I wasn’t disappointed.

Opening with standout song from the new album Hey Jane, Electricity (from LAGWAFIS), Too Late and Little Girl (both from Sweet Heart Sweet Light) it was fantastic to hear such great tunes in the very lovely Camden Roundhouse. It’s truly one of London’s best venues.

I’m uncertain if is Pierce’s ill-health that prevents him from throwing shapes around the room or if that’s just what he prefers to do – he sat down for the whole show and there was little movement from the rest of the band. Allowing for this, the gig was fantastic. The sound was great and Spiritualized have some amazing tunes including new song Life Is A Problem (which I guess must be about his recent health).


There were a couple of times when I thought about getting a beer. Usually at a gig I worry I’ll miss something. Not last night. I have seen more happen in an episode of Lark Rise To Candleford than happened on that stage.

That’s not a bad thing. Always. The music was great. Really great. I didn’t want Pierce to don make up like Gene Simmons and breathe fire. What can I say – he’s no Rylan Clark…

And perhaps that’s why I overlooked Spiritualized and why they haven’t been as commercially successful as Radiohead, despite such critical acclaim. I saw Radiohead a few weeks ago and they were vibrant. Energetic. Spiritualized aren’t about that. And they don’t do sing-a-longs. Instead, the five piece band (plus two backing singers) play great songs – really beautiful songs – and the appreciative crowd (including Bobby Gillespie and Faris Badwan) lapped it up.

Record #112: Spiritualized – Hey Jane


4 responses to “Spiritualized – Live At The Camden Roundhouse”

  1. benopause Avatar

    The singalong to So Long You Pretty Thing at Festival No6 – albeit by 10 of us that knew the words – was a highlight of the weekend.
    Also, one of the most controlled drumming performances I’ve seen for years. No mean feat with so much structure needed for their complex songs.
    Nice, honest piece. My wife thinks they were Embrace too.


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Thanks – and reassuring to know it isn’t just me that gets bands mixed up…


  2. Mark Anstee Avatar

    NME eulogised Spiritualized in the mid-90s, and the gushing journo-love may have put some people off. Back in ’97, when Xfm started up, i remember my clock radio waking me up for work to ‘i think i’m in love’ and being very happy to have found such a cool radio station (shame about what came after). Spiritualized were amazing at Reading in ’98, headlining one of the smaller tents, and the double CD of them live from the Royal Albert Hall is definitely worth tracking down.


    1. Every Record Tells A Story Avatar

      Don’t know that one – thanks – will check it out.


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