The Brothers have been part of the soundtrack for more than one's teen years. Ah, the 90s, they were quite something, eh? The pills, the thrills, the bellyaches. Now, we're grownups; listening to Drake, drinking cocktails, having dinner at way too expensive Japanese restaurants and buying Lacoste polo shirts. Listening to a Chemical Brothers live show now is like going back to a time we thought was lost forever. The feeling, although many find nostalgia to be a waste of time, is one of spiritual purification and even tenderness; it's a way of seeing yourself in the past, a past that doesn't seem to have really happened to you. But it did. It happened, oh, did it ever. And the Mancunians are here to remind you of it.
Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons know their shit: The Chemical Brothers' live show follows some rules that are strict, eluding obstacles and shooting to kill. But the visual and sensorial experience is worth it, which is why this gig - shot by David Smith with twenty cameras and in Dolby Digital 7.1 at the Japanese Fuji Rock Festival - raises the stakes when it comes to a megalomaniac live show. The film was premiered in a cinema, there's a DVD and, of course, a CD. The fans won't go hungry.
Optical feasts aside, on the CD, the engines roar like there's no tomorrow. Hit after hit, three-song mashups, pistons working brilliantly, constant ups and downs, blinded breakbeats, electro-rock, citric trance and the party is go. It's the stadium sound the band's been practicing ever since they were consecrated, so many years ago. Like Leftfield (another dinosaur live show reviewed earlier on these pages), the Brothers take no prisoners. So the double whammy of “Three Little Birdies Down Beats” and “Hey Boy Hey Girl” blows up your speakers and make you shake like you've just received a 2,000,000 Volt discharge.
The electricity is undeniable. It's like being at a massive festival, chewing soil, smelling armpits and trying to keep your balance with your hot beer in your hand. It has that charm and dirtiness. Just listen to the fusion of “Horse Power” and “Chemical Beats”, an intelligent update of the acid farts of their early days. They don't sound contemporary, of course they don't. But even so, hairs are raised. The sensational version of “Leave Home”, with raps, giving way to a murderous rendition of “Block Rockin’ Beats” is the cherry on the cake. In short: don’t think, just fuckin’ dance.