There can be few more obvious signs of generational change than finding yourself at a Chemical Brothers show and realising that the 1990s British Big Beat and club producers now put on the kind of show which parents and their children can both attend, one group for the sake of nostalgia and the other for the sheer thrilling volume and urgency of the thing.
The Chemical Brothers ****
In the time-honoured fashion of the arena dance music producer, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons were glimpsed only in tiny silhouette; instead, the production was the star, a wide bank of blackened video screens filling one huge wall of the venue. They showed stylised figures in synchronised “running man” dances, psychedelic dervishes and wildly made-up female faces. At one point, a pair of giant, searchlight-eyed toy robots unfolded from the backdrop.
The music didn’t break stride, each track blending in perfectly to create an extended, mixed suite of thunderously-bassed club workouts. The “greatest hits” were feverishly received, including the familiar appearance of Noel Gallagher’s vocal on Setting Son; the highly effective blending of New Order’s Temptation with Star Guitar; and the powerful finale of Galvanize segueing into Block Rockin’ Beats. It was a set of classics played by artists who still sound fresh and of the moment.