Live Review: Patti Smith at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham

Patti Smith

The night started off with the promise of “New Secret Weapon” for which I was elated and prepared. This being canceled plus the horrendous weather simply put me in an abhorrent mood. We waited and waited and waited for the concert to start, finally It did. I was shocked to find that NSW have been used as cannon fodder to sell tickets. I was disgusted, instead, I had to endure the “Musings” of Ariel Pink.

For those of you who are not familiar with Ariel Pink: He is an affluent rich boy (inheritance) who’s music is part Vaporwave, part Buddy Holly served with a main of bullshit. Everything about his music and persona is steeped in the worst parts of American consumerism.

He is the “Bigger is better” mantra embodied. By way of “modesty” he veils himself as an innovator because “he uses rudimentary equipment and overdubs his tracks by tape alone in his room, what a trooper”. Give a man a fish and he will eat for a night, give a man the prospect of a fine inheritance and a seemingly endless financial safety net and he will do whatever the fuck he wants for generations.

His tactless Liam Gallagher-ish stance as he looked into the sky with his sunglasses on screamed “go fuck yourself” and in a Brendan Grace-ish manner “I’ve had my fun, that’s all that matters”. This versus the prospect of having a really talented local band open the night made me angry.

That is not to say that Ariel Pink’s band didn’t do well, there were moments where he wasn’t self-indulgently such as “jello”….kinda like the Olson Twin’s “Pizza” but y’know….for adults? Because we need pacification? what were the promoters thinking for fuck’s sakes? Put your head on next time. If we wanted Macaulay Culkin bang out a “post-ironic” irony, we would have probably put together an internet petition to make that happen. Generally when you bill Patti Smith you are going to get people of all ages but with a lovely high IQ level, lovely fun loving people of a good nature passing spliffs around.

You could argue “if you don’t like Ariel Pink, don’t go to his concerts”, which would be sound if he wasn’t concreted into a bill for something I really do want to see.

Now on to the music part of the night, the main reason I wanted to go to this gig personally was Spiritualized, I was only familiar with their album “Ladies and Gentlemen, We are Floating in Space” so I was expecting droney synths which I loved, what I got was much much better.

They started off pretty easy going with lovely Brian Jonestown-esque guitar playing but with a delicious undercurrent of droney synths, the crowd lit up with happiness. It was then that I realized this band had been around for a while as the crowd started singing along.

The atmosphere was beautiful and, of course, the smell of marijuana started floating around. Somewhere around half way, Spiritualized burst into a 9-minute epic song where the song bursts into a massive guitar based drone. The energy was amazing, like a fun fair ride, the groove evolved but stayed the same. The lights were used to full effect as the lighting engineer clearly has no regard for the safety of our epileptic brethren. The guitar solo was a simple melody being changed over and over again as if it was a glitching machine. This coupled with the lighting and the drones in the background was basically a recipe for having your mind blown.

The further into the set, I came to the realization “wait a minute, Spiritualized is the lead man from Spaceman 3” as they burst into two Spaceman 3 tunes at the end for the fans. These guys packed a punch, what a memorable performance.

Spiritualized embody latter day 90’s psychedelia combining elements found in bands like “Unkle” “Brian Jonestown Massacre” the better bits of “Oasis” “The Stone Temple Pilots” and some bits from maybe “Husker Du” and of course “Spaceman 3”. I totally recommend listening to their album “Ladies and Gentlemen We are Floating in Space” and then go to see their energetic live performance. I woke up this morning with the will to listen to them forever and that is what I deem as the sign of a great gig.

Next onto Patti Smith, I had heard of her and heard excerpts of Horses; The album in question every now and then when the Mrs would fire it on, so when I heard something familiar in the tune of “Jesus Died for Somebodies Sins but not Mine” I, but mostly the crowd roared with elation. For a 68-year-old she was in brilliant form.

She went from track to track with great stupor and gave the grand total of 0 fucks about the consequences of jumping around the stage at her age. She is now as was then the weird playful auntie of rock n roll. Patti blasted through Horses note for note, the guitar player would hit the odd bum note but it added to the authenticity of the performance and nobody gave a shit because “it’s Patti Smith! She’s alive! And well!”.

The last half hour of her set was made up of what seemed to be living members of the Velvet Underground playing Velvet Underground songs (What? A music writer unfamiliar with music from 40 years ago? Boo hoo, go have a whine about it, go get someone to change your nappy for you as well, while you are at it). The last track was her paying homage to the dead music rock stars such as Jimi Hendrix, Jim Morrison and a host of others. This gig was top notch, the showmanship was great also as the guitarist and pianist and bassist were flat out swapping instruments between songs. I’d have to give the performance a 5 out of five for everyone except shitty Ariel Pink whom I would give 0 because he sucked so badly. Over and out of it.