Spiritualized @ The Echo; Los Angeles, CA

September 20, 2008

It took ten years for me to see Spiritualized for a second time. It took less than 48 hours to see them a third time. If you’ll remember from yesterday’s post, Nicci e-mailed me to tell me that there was a “secret” show scheduled for Friday night at the Echo. Apparently it was announced on MySpace, so for once Nicci’s obsession with MySpace actually served some good! I thought about going…I thought about not going…and then I kind of shrugged it off and said, “We’ll see.” Nicci called me while I was at work to tell me she was already standing in line (she got to the venue at 4:30 in the afternoon and doors were at 8:00 — what a doll!). Well, at that point I figured I was going to the show!

I left work (5:15pm), raced home to grab my camera and some money, and met Nicci outside the Echo. By this time there was actually quite a formidable queue, but she was maybe 15 spots from the door. There was no question we would be let in for the performance. We were given wristbands (one security guard said there were 170, another said 350), and then the waiting game began. Phoebe drove by in her car and called us to see what the hell we were doing, and when she found out that should could sneak into the line with us and receive a wristband, she decided she was going to join us. Maybe five minutes after she arrived, Allie happened to walk past the line (she was down the street doing laundry — on a Friday night) and she too joined us as we waited for the doors to open. We ate chips, drank water, chatted, and a few minutes after eight o’clock, they let us into the venue.

The guy from Deerhunter (I could care less about them) was DJ-ing in the back of the room, and we quickly made our way to bar and then the rear patio so that the smokers could enjoy their cancer sticks. We made small talk with a group of indie nerds sitting next to us. One of them asked me if I liked the band Pulp, so I told them they sucked except for This Is Hardcore, which I liked when I was twelve years old. The same kid asked me what I thought of Stephen Malkmus’ solo career, which I also answered with “it sucks,” and said Terror Twilight sounded like a better version of any of the solo albums. I love ranting in public!

As the clock hurtled towards 9:00pm, I became nervous about the venue becoming a horrible clusterfuck, and decided that it would be best to get inside and find a good spot. Nicci and I chose a little nook on the left-hand side of the stage, close to the bar. Allie and Phoebe ventured off towards the back of the room somewhere. The band didn’t take the stage until closer to 9:30, at which point we were able to move to the very front-let corner of the stage. Nicci and I stayed there pretty much for the duration of the show, taking turns photographing the band. I’ve never seen (or felt) the Echo packed so tightly. I’m still scouring the Internet to try and find an exact capacity for the venue, but it felt like it was stuffed to capacity or even beyond capacity. Compared to the 17,000-seat Hollywood Bowl, seeing Spiritualized in such a small room was akin to having them play a basement show. Unlike the other night, there was absolutely no question as to whether or not the band could fill the space. The waves of sound washed over all in attendance. It was massive.

They were as phenomenal as I’d hoped, and played a full set that was heavy on newer songs but also included a good deal of older tunes. No “Cop Shoot Cop,” but I think it was a bit absurd to expect them to play that one. The highlights included “Sitting On Fire,” a beautiful new song from Songs In A&E that the band did not play at Hollywood Bowl the other night, and a stunning one-two punch of “Come Together” and “Take Me To The Other Side” to close their set. Those tunes were amazing and intense; the volume was ratcheted up many decibels before launching into “Come Together”, and the sonic assault was unrelenting. After a much extended feedback outro, the band left the stage and returned to play “Lord Can You Hear Me”, which was both a beautiful and perfect way to close the evening. All told, it was an amazing experience, and one that I will remember for as long as I continue to enjoy the band’s music. By the way, if anyone knows where the fuck “Life Is A Problem” comes from, let me know. I like to think I know Spiritualized’s song catalog well, but I can’t for the life of me figure out its origins.

Amazing Grace / You Lie You Cheat
Shine A Light
Soul On Fire
Sweet Talk
Sitting On Fire
Walkin’ With Jesus
Oh Baby
Rated X
Lay Back In The Sun
Death Take Your Fiddle
Life Is A Problem
Ladies & Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space
She Kissed Me
Come Together
Take Me To The Other Side
Lord Can You Hear Me

Please enjoy the photos – Click to enlarge.


  1. |

    i accidentally posted this comment on the your post below: “altogether it was a perfect afternoon, evening, and night. they’re my new favorite band.”
    it was meant for this one.

  2. |


    I’m sad Wesley Willis was never able to write a song about them before he died:
    “J Spaceman likes to rock
    He is a rocking machine
    He wears sunglasses all the time
    He likes to rock with church people”

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