Spiritualized – Webster Hall – September 10, 2013
Jason Pierce (sometimes known as J. Spaceman) of Spiritualized is a man of very few words. It took until the encore last night at Webster Hall for him to even mutter two words—“thank you”—to the audience. Beyond that, he seems to save all of his expression for his music, taking the venue through a deeply personal journey of music that can be at times loud and abrasive and at other times soft and beautiful. It’s psychedelia with an emphasis on the psych, space rock for the far-reaching regions of the brain only visited when deeply in a trance.
With Spiritualized, you can forgive the noisier aspects of their music because you know, eventually, their songs will end up taking you to a place much more cathartic and comfortable. Their stage backdrop at the more loud and frantic beginnings of “Hey Jane” featured sped-up scenes of the city landscape, until the song slowed down for its much gentler coda, when the background changed to a slow-motion space-time travel sequence. It’s Spiritualized’s escapism perfectly visualized, taking concertgoers on a journey far away from the noisy chaos of New York City to a suspended state deep in the cosmos.
Pierce had plenty of help from band members for both sides of this spectrum. For the set’s noisier moments, like the entirety of the song “Electricity,” his saxophonist blared out a maelstrom of jarring honks and squeals. And for the show’s more tender moments, J. Spaceman was followed by the soothing gospel oomph of his two backup singers, like the slowed-down final moments of “Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating in Space.” Spiritualized saved their most delicate song for the encore, playing out the night with “All of My Tears” so softly you could hardly hear it at all. —Dan Rickershauser
Photos courtesy of Gregg Greenwood | gregggreenwood.com