Live Review, 5/23/12: Spiritualized's Wall of Sound Assaults the Fillmore
It's impossible to separate the man behind Spiritualized from his music. The psyche of Jason Pierce, aka J. Spaceman, permeated the packed house at the Fillmore last night -- and there were a few casualties.The bartender attributed the chaos to a poorly mixed cocktail of alcohol and pot, but there was more to it, a heightened sense of emotion in the air. From Pierce emanated an intensity that flooded the audience with Spiritualized's wall of sound. Some of us swam, others drowned.
Dressed in all white, with two backup singers by his side, Pierce didn't speak a word during the entire set, singing into two mics and aggressively picking his guitar. His band, a revolving group with every album and tour, poured relentless energy into the show -- particularly the bassist, whose solo during the encore mesmerized everyone, Pierce included. The visuals, as bright and bold as a lucid dream, gave the illusion of another dimension. As expected of psychedelic music from England, it was both introspective and an assault.
While recent Spiritualized albums cannot match the brilliance of Ladies and Gentleman We Are Floating In Space, or Let It Come Down, the music remains the work of a fully possessed man. Pierce has been accused of writing the same song over and over about the same themes: love, loss, longing, and a lot of Jesus references. Hearing him sing of these obsessions, over the howl of heavy guitars and haunting melodies, does feel familiar; we've struggled with some of the same themes over and over.