Tag Archives: The Prodigy

The Prodigy, Public Enemy at The Hydro, 23/11/15

Believe the hype…don’t believe the hype… believe the hype… don’t… apply that to both bands tonight, rinse and repeat.

The Prodigy just racked up yet another number one album and Public Enemy, well, they’re Public Enemy; they sounded great on that Channel 4 sports advert the other year, but whether they’ve gone from recent Paralympic heroes to geriatric ones remains to be seen.

As does the question of whether the Security of the First World will appear complete with dummy guns as per – with attendant possibility, in the wake of the horrors in Paris, of an immediate and panicked stampede for the exits down the front row.

Tasteless?

Possibly; however both groups have been sticking two fingers up to the musical establishment for years now so extending that belligerence and distinct lack of kowtowing to those who would do down an innocent culture of pleasure seems a consensus shared.

A lo… there they are when Chuck D, Flavor Flav, DJ Lord et al take the stage; camp as a row of tits [as always] but strutting around in quasi-militaristic fashion – albeit without weaponry tonight – with the occasional age-appropriate amble thrown in.

And it’s an ambling performance all in to be honest – wonderful to hear ‘Rebel Without a Pause’, ‘Fight The Power’ and ‘Harder Than You Think’ live and direct but, hampered by pretty dreadful and muddy sound it’s the feeling of being glad to have seen a band rather than of actually being impressed with the performance.

Perhaps most affecting is Flav (miraculously on stage and not still wandering around an airport with his carrier bags as is his want) making an impassioned plea for tolerance along with, yes indeed, sticking those two fingers up – literally – at concepts (racism and separatism) and people (yup, racists and separatists).

Coupled with The Hydro being previously lit up as the French Tricolor after the events in France it’s invigorating, but also touching.

Less emotive, but no less notable is a fan somehow making herself heard amongst a rather large percentage of the hefty crowd in the face of an MC asking for the 49th time whether, “hip hop people are in the house?”

A curt, “Will you shut the fuck up and get on with it?!”, sees that one off at the pass.

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Overall though, the sense is of a gig ticked off a list of must-sees rather than a joyous and satisfying event in its own right, which is as damned near the most polar of polar opposites compared to what follows from The Prodigy.

Not really knowing what to expect from Liam and co in their similarly advanced years: let’s just say this – they… are… the… real… deal.

Extraordinary set from the get go: beginning with ‘Breathe’, by song three we’re already onto ‘Firestarter’; no compromise, no let up, primal and raw.

It may be largely electronic – though there are live drums and guitar – but the crunching mayhem is as punk rock as punk can be.

And mayhem it is: surveying the seething mass down below with drinks chucked, t-shirts torn, umbrellas(!) flung… there’s an end of the world vibe about the whole scene; particularly when combined with the roar from onstage.

Lyrics are spat with venom by a stalking Maxim and twitching Keith Flint, the light show is flat out bonkers and right in centre, orchestrating the chaos, is Mr. Howlett; master of all he surveys in amongst banks of keyboards and a camera shoved in his face.

It’s impossible not to react to: an accomplice who is familiar with only a couple of their songs is soon smacking knees in bouncy glee; heck, I wouldn’t even describe myself as a fan but, but… the carnage-inducing craziness can’t be ignored.

A brief lurk outside in the foyer reveals several young fans panting and with considerably less clothes on than they arrived in; nonplussed staff members look on.

‘Voodoo People’ with it’s strangulated guitar sample encapsulates it all; twisted and contorted, a juggernaut of power but, in its own grippingly fucked up way, really rather sophisticated all the same.

If I were an 18 year old in the pit of humanity beneath us I’d be waiting a long long time to better this battering ram of a gig.

The notes say, “Can’t argue with this” – and you really can’t.

Confounding expectations… brilliant, just absolutely brilliant.

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Words: Vosne Malconsorts
Photos: Stewart Fullerton

T in the Park 2015 (Sunday)

Sunday morning; we’re a couple of bodies light from last night, as a couple of my pals feel the excesses of yesterday a bit much to raise themselves from their bed, regardless those of us with a job to do make the trip up following the daily Greggs cure and the trip up is relatively easy going.

Opting to park near where we parked the first night, meant no issues with muddy hills tonight, but we were anticipating a reasonable amount of traffic tonight as people head home rather than camp another night another, plus there wouldn’t be any excessive head starts are one of the closers tonight is real attention grabber.

I arrive at T Break in time to catch the last part of Be Charlotte’s set; having given them a quick listen prior and having Louie from Hector Bizerk singing their praises at me the previous night, had me intrigued to see what they had to offer live.

Indeed Hector’s Audrey Tait is delivering some powerful rhythms for the innovative Charlotte; all the while sky-teasing synths come in behind a vocal that carries as much gritty attitude as it does technical brilliance.

In the short space of time I see them, she raps and sings with precision and struts the stage with a confident urban swagger and bags of gutsiness; plenty to look out for I reckon.

Wandering over to BBC Introducing and Tongues are already in full flow with powerfully backed tracks full of soaring synths and the occasional captivating harmony.

There’s some nice ideas here from the Glasgow boys, certainly enough to suggest they could be higher up the bill in years to come.

Next up is potentially my clash of the weekend as the chirpy fussy brilliance of The Van T’s at T Break crosses over with the wonderful Bdy_Prts’ set at BBC Introducing for all but five-minutes either side.

So, I start at T Break and it appears the Thompson twins have come a long way since I put them on at Broadcast over a year ago; they have acquired a shit load more presence, yet that fun filled surfy energy still emits from their set.

There’s even corners of their set that angle into full on riot grrrl power as there ‘boyfriends’ dance taps aff down the front; these girls have been coming to T for the last few years and they seem in their element a week or so after their 21st birthday’s.

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Having to miss the end of the set to catch the end of Bdy_Prts I’m severely hoping I haven’t made the wrong choice, but Jen and Jill never seem to let down.

The crowd is pretty sparse, but the duo is engaging as ever as they syncronise up, clad in the same pink and yellow skintight outfits they sported at The Hug and Pint launch a wee bit ago.

Indeed, each time I see these guys they seem to get more impressive, their set has gone from stripped back quirky harmonics to full on aural assault, all the while the girl’s impressive voices remain rightfully the focal point.

Even their banter is in sync as the duo, who seem clear as day to be best pals just having fun, deliver new single ‘Cold Shoulder’, which floats and weaves with their angelic vocals, backed with that extra push from a rhythm section that enhances their live set considerably; can’t wait to hear more.

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Next stop is the Tut’s Tent for Admiral Fallow, admittedly I’m not the best guy to be reviewing them as I’ve grown tired of this Scottish singer-songwriter, gone full blown big sounding indie folk band, still Louis Abbott and co. seem as strong as ever and their new material sounds comfortable in the set.

I don’t have to particular like it to say that they are fully entitled to the stature they have achieved in this ‘uplifting indie folk’ bracket, they do it as well as anyone else out there and will rightfully come away with plenty of praise.

After cutting about the press area for longer than anticipated I ample over for the latter stages of Idlewild’s set, and while admittedly they kind of bypassed my musical intake first time around, what I have heard of them has always been of considerable quality.

What the set does lack for me personally, which sadly is pretty essential during a festival like this, is a familiarity; for a band that hold this level of popularity you’d expect to recognise a few numbers, however the set passes by without much of an inkling.

Still, the set is solid and quashes and doubts about Idlewild’s live quality, with Roddy Woomble looking to have not aged a day in the afternoon sunshine of Strathallan.

At T Break Benjamin Booker pulls a fair crowd, and there’s plenty of snarly, guttural energy to them too, it’s deep south rock with plenty of twang and load of drive, that injects a level of power into proceedings before Modest Mouse’s airing over a Tut’s.

These guys have quite a formidable reputation and attract a much larger crowd than anticipated.

Still, despite the large crowd and Isaac Brock and co.’s powered, but disappointingly quiet, performance, this is a festival crowd and one that are hard to tap into unless you play the hits; ‘Float On’ predictably gets the biggest reaction, but this is another example of a band you need to see on a venue tour, on their own terms, rather than at a huge festival.

Cassels are couple of young boys, but their sound seems to pack a fair punch over at BBC Introducing as a cacophony of pummeling drums and crunching guitar form a formidable sound that could easily blast them into the public eye before long.

Indeed youth is their benefit, but admitting you’re in a “shitty mood” when on stage at T in the Park probably isn’t the best way to warm yourself to an audience mainly full of people chancing upon you.

Stumbling into T Break for a bit of Crash Club’s blasting electronics, which sounds massive and draws a big crowd, but still somehow feels like 90s lads throw back and being relatively underwhelmed by the over the top quirkiness of Spring Break it was time for The Prodigy.

By this time the weekend is taking affect, and the sleep deprivation isn’t helping the alcohol tolerance, but this is the kind of situation that is specifically designed for T in the Park.

We don’t manage to really get close enough to enjoy the full effects of the legendary dance aficionados, but still it’s powerful stuff that erupts with hits that you’d forgotten about, alongside ones you were waiting for; no wonder big Geoff Ellis made them the centre-piece of his speech at the line up launch all those months ago.

We have to dash 10-minutes from the end, some of us have work in the morning, but that’s not enough to miss the rush and we end up caught in traffic for what seems like forever; still it’s another enjoyable year.

Granted I didn’t see the campsite, but a few slight alterations in traffic organisation, parking and layout and things should be going swimmingly next year.

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Words: Iain Dawson
Photos: Bill Gray