Time Out Melbourne

This event has finished

Even gremlins can't spoil the transcendent darkness of a Spiritualized show

There’s an incredibly rare moment during Spiritualized’s latest visit to Melbourne: Jason “Spaceman” Pierce says something other than his customary: “Thank you” during the set. Unfortunately, it’s: “Gotta sort this out...” as he stands up and walks offstage after his guitars malfunction for the third song in a row.

Given he’s a man who can – and frequently does – lead his troupe through ear-pounding, gut-shaking, psychedelic, balls-to-the-wall freakouts while looking as if he’s patiently teaching a six-year-old to play arpeggios on their first guitar, it takes a while before his stoic front breaks. And, while the techie enduring a night from hell plays fruitlessly with pedals and leads during 'Hey Jane', it’s no bad thing, with the rest of the band turning the song’s middle section into a trance-like ride that lends the joyous finale even more weight.

Yet the gremlins return again and again during the first half of the set, frequently disrupting the flow of what is an often epic collection, swinging from gentle lullabies through straight out garage rock to those ear bleed moments, moments that are lightened by the sight of the two gospel singers maintaining their gentle swing as bedlam descends around them.

Sound is restored in time for 1997’s classic Ladies and Gentlemen, We Are Floating In Space. Yet the rendition pales in comparison to that performed on the band’s Acoustic Mainline tour. It’s a strangely plodding effort, especially sat alongside the stomping militaristic might of new track ‘'A’ Song'. In fact, for the most part it’s the heavier, darker moments that shine through, not least the dizzyingly bold one-two punch of 'Take Your Time' and 'Electric Mainline' that ends the main set.

It paves the way for a crowd-pleasing encore drawn from Pierce’s earlier work. Spacemen 3’s 'Walking With Jesus' sees him take on his gospel preacher’s mantle to great effect, before the band launches into a blistering take on Smiles. Just a shame, then, that his guitar fails again, he marches off stage left, and those hollering their approval are left without even a “Thank you.” Someone in the crew has some serious explaining to do...

More gigs & concerts in Melbourne? Sign up to our Weekend Planner

By James Smith   |   Photos by Graham Denholm

Spiritualized details

125 Swanston St, Melbourne 3000

Telephone 1300 843 443

Nearby Stations: Flinders St

Date Thu 06 Dec 2012

Max Watt's map

Report a problem with this page

Restaurants and bars nearby

La Petite Creperie

16m - Pick up a plum jam or salted caramel crepe from this tiny converted...


17m - The Hare Krishna hangout offers a full vegetarian meal deal for $5.50/$7.50...

Bar Americano

50m - Have you heard of Hugo R Ensslin? Probably not, unless you’re obsessed...


52m - We’d happily whittle an evening away drinking crisp African beer and...

More restaurants and bars nearby

Other venues nearby

Fort Delta Gallery

6m - Founded in May 2013, Fort Delta Gallery aims to showcase emerging artists...

Melbourne Town Hall

15m - For over 135 years, the Melbourne Town Hall has been the heart of the city,...

Downtown Revolution

29m - Under renovations: opening September 2014 Normally, claims like “the...

More venues nearby
Petit Piknic

Petit Piknic

Melbourne's got the most fun, family-friendly Sunday session at Piknic Electronik

Readers' comments, reviews, hints and pictures

Community guidelines

blog comments powered by Disqus

Get the Time Out weekend planner. Straight to your inbox, every Thursday.
Read more