Chemical Brothers @
Brixton Academy, London,
13 December 2007
Chemical Brothers are the only one of dance music's
nineties big guns to remain at the top of their game. While
the likes of Orbital, Leftfield, Underworld and The Prodigy
also helped to drag dance music from the underground into
the mainstream, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons are really the
only artists from that old elite who continue to produce
dance music that is both popular and credible.
one of their best albums to date, We Are The Night, under
their belts this year, the 'Brothers are still working it
out. Having played both at the Electric Proms and in Trafalgar
Square in recent months, tonight sees the duo rounding off
the year in the somewhat more traditional setting of Brixton
music is all about the rush but is it normal to get goose
bumps on your head within the first 30 seconds of a set?
Starting with Galvanize the sensory overload from the speakers,
screens and light-show is immediate and joyful. It's
like being on a roller coaster that is forever doing a loop-the-loop
as Do It Again, Hey Boy, Hey Girl and Out Of Control follow.
back catalogue is extensive now and they could easily spew
out a tired greatest hits set but the Chems don't resort
to such hackneyed laziness. Instead, every track is twisted
and contorted, almost completely beyond recognition at times,
to extract every last drop of energy from it. Out Of Control
borrows elements from Primal Scream while
Star Guitar sees New Order's Temptation
thrown in to get those goose bumps going again. It's certainly
euphoric and the crowd gradually loses its inhibitions section
by section, throwing themselves into recent album highlight
Saturate then Chemical Beats as multicoloured lasers dart
encore is no more restrained. A giant eye looks over the
stage and a deep sub-bass thud pounds away until the duo
return to launch into Leave Home which then morphs into
Block Rockin' Beats. Das Spiegel brings the set to
a close and provides some sort of relative calm before the
lights go up.
like Tom and Ed have the holy grail of dance music on their
mantelpiece at home, drinking from it to continue producing
both albums and live performances that show no sign of faltering.
If you don't like being bombarded and overwhelmed,
avoid the Chemical Brothers at all costs. If you need convincing
that dance music still has the energy to raise spirits,
arms and smiles then catch them live now.
- Ian Roullier, 12/2007