Spiritualized, SWG3, Glasgow ****
Over the past three decades, Spiritualized has been a vessel for the agony and ecstasy of Jason Pierce, a musician who contains multitudes in his music, harvesting seamlessly from classic traditions and structures to create drug anthems and devotional incantations which are instantly recognisable as his work.
Sitting side-on to the audience, as is his tradition, he appeared a diffident bandleader but whatever the method, it worked. Pierce’s current cosmic compatriots knew every step of this wild and beautiful sonic ride and executed their roles with the requisite grace or mania.
Set opener Hey Jane was a gig in one song – an acid glam stomp buoyed by gospel backing vocalists which maintained decorum for three minutes before diving into a psych rock breakdown then emerging on a springy bassline and an elated refrain.
If Pierce had not written a song called She Kissed Me (And It Felt Like a Hit), someone would need to have done it for him. This fleet, powerful garage rocker was propelled by hell-for-leather drumming, before blissing out with burnished guitar and organ.
Shine a Light was an old celestial favourite, while new number I’m Coming Home Again used the storytelling possibilities of the gospel chorus on a jazzy odyssey with lysergic blues guitar, squalling clarinet and plangent bass. In comparison, I’m Your Man was straight-up R'n'B.
However, most of these compositions were epics with the band taking their time to deliver delayed pleasure, at one point fading away to almost nothing before roaring back. Such were the exultant crescendos that almost any song could have been the climactic gig closer, from the cleansing Soul on Fireto the cathartic rallying of Come Together. In the end, they went out on the slow burn of Sail On Through and encored with the cosmic country of So Long You Pretty Thing with satisfaction guaranteed.