Show Review: Spiritualized with Nikki Lane at The Fillmore, 5/23/12

by Dakin Hardwick on May 28, 2012

All Photos By Kara Murphy

In 1997, Britpop was at an odd sort of crossroads. The Oasis/Blur feud had already sort of fizzled out. Coldplay and Snow Patrol were still trying to figure out their inoffensive brands of soft rock. During that in-between period, we got two of the most fantastic British rock records off all time: Radiohead’s OK Computer and Spiritualized’s Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space. These two albums are both dark and intense bodies of work, and, to the surprise of nearly everyone, were both critical and commercial successes. The two bands even hit the road together, playing arenas around America, with their own different brands of apocalyptic, hypnotic, and vaguely psychedelic rock music. Of course, we all knew what happened to Radiohead- the remain one of the biggest bands in the world. However, Spiritualized ended up taking a very different path. Bandleader J Spaceman went through bouts of drug addiction and illness, causing trips to American to be few and far between in the last decade and a half. Thus making their recent trip to The Fillmore very special.

American country singer Nikki Lane opened the show. I spent some time listening to her before the show… Her brand of style of music, classic, Grand Ol Opry influenced country and western seemed an inappropriate fit. I was expecting the sold out crowd to completely reject her, but I was quite surprised. A lesser performer would’ve failed, but Ms Lane took the stage with a great amount of confidence, and it definitely helped her reach out to an audience that wouldn’t necessarily have been interested in her.

On record, she has full back up band and a punchy, polished, Nashville sound. Tonight, she opted to strip things down and perform solo acoustic. It was the perfect way to introduce her music to this crowd. Her voice is absolutely stunning, a beautiful, smooth alto with the right amount of twang. She did a set of songs, mostly revolving around the time honored themes of love and heartache, and managed to make that sound both fresh and classic. Yes, there were a few people in the crowd that felt that it was more important to talk over her than to listen to her. Those folks were the ones that missed out, because Ms Lane was fantastic.

The staging for Spiritualized is fascinating. The musicians set up in a U-shape, with long time lead guitarist Doggen taking the front of one side, and Spaceman taking the front on the other side of the stage. Keyboards, bass, drums, and two back up singers rounded out the U, all facing each other throughout the set. They kicked off the set with a garagey, blues tinged rendition of their most recent single “Hey Jane.” They took that 10 minute long opus straight into the dreamy, spaced out gospel of “Lord Let It Rain On Me,” a dreamy gospel number from the band’s 2003 release Amazing Grace. It was a stellar opening for the two hour long sonic journey that we were about to embark on.

The entire band stayed almost completely motionless throughout the duration of the entire set. They ran through every phase of Spiritualized, from gospel to blues to space rock to songs that borderline on neoclassical music. It was a nearly perfect setlist, sending the listener on a hypnotic journey that thrilled the ears. The music was so dynamic and entrancing that you barely realized how little activity was happening on stage. They proved that you do not need to a charismatic performer in order to hold the attention of the audience.The set was nearly evenly balanced between songs from Ladies and Gentlemen…, Amazing Grace, and their recently released Sweet Heart Sweet Light. These three records make up a trilogy of sorts for the band. Although they weren’t written or record in chronological order, all three records show the band in a similar light.

The set closed with the double header of the two most aggressive songs from the bands deep catalog: “She Hit Me (It Felt Like A Hit) and their first big single in the states “Come Together.” Two songs that are both romantic and violent simultaneously. The journey began with the vaguely spiritual and ended with the vaguely demonic. And it was a beautiful ride.


Hey Jane
Lord Let In Rain On Me
Heading For The Top
Walking With Jesus
Oh Baby
Rated X
Born Never Asked
Electric Mainline
Soul On Fire
I Am What I Am
Ladies And Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
Stay With Me
She Kissed Me (It Felt Like A Hit)
Come Together

So Long You Pretty Thing
Cop Shoot Cop…

For more of Kara Murphy’s fine photos, please check out her gallery on Flickr!






Read Also:

{ 0 comments… add one now }

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: