tue 17/09/2019

The Prodigy, Brighton Centre review - a proper bangin' night out | reviews, news & interviews

The Prodigy, Brighton Centre review - a proper bangin' night out

The Prodigy, Brighton Centre review - a proper bangin' night out

Ferocious and noisy as ever, the three-man electronic dance rampage take the lid off the south coast seafront venue

Wild men: Maxim, Keith Flint and Liam Howlett

“That’s what we fucking do!” So says Maxim at the concert’s very end, surveying the sweating, raving carnage of 4,500 souls before him. One of The Prodigy’s two frontman, he stands still finally, after spending the rest of the gig pacing and rushing up and down the lip of the stage like a caged panther. We all know what he means. He means that his band have wrung us out, taken us to a fervour of devil-may-care limb-swinging derangement. The Prodigy always bring the party and, yet again, 28 years into their career, they wreak havoc in a way very few bands of any age or era can.

The stage curtain opens at the gig’s start to reveal a set that looks like a bombsite, broken brickwork on either side and two versions of the bus from the front of their new album, No Tourists, as backdrops. Unlike most bands which play Brighton’s biggest venue, they don’t use screens to magnify what they’re up to. Instead, a barrage of spotlights, strobes and dry ice creates a real sense of clubby atmosphere and theatrical menace. The band are often mere silhouettes amid the smoke and glow, adding to the sense of this being a rave where the audience, the group experience, is what it’s about rather than just watching a band,

The Prodigy sate. They are a tonic for what ails you.

They kick off with their 1996 hit “Breathe”, Maxim arriving onstage dressed in what looks like a yeti outfit. The man behind the music, Liam Howlett, takes his customary place behind the keys, and the core trio is boosted by a guitarist and a drummer. And then, of course, there’s Keith Flint, the most recognisable member, a coiled ball of energy dressed tonight in white trousers with a military side-stripe, a cross between a mod John Lydon and a scowling, camp royal guardsman.

The set rampages around their entire career but is unafraid to feature much of the last two albums, including a drum & bass version of “The Day Is My Enemy” which sends the place frantic, and an especially visceral take on the manic “Roadblox”. There are also plenty of 1990s gems, “Voodoo People”, signalled by its hoarse pan-pipe riff, “No Good (Start the Dance)”, “Everybody in the Place” (“Let’s go,” shout the crowd as one!), and finally the earthquake beats of “Smack My Bitch Up” to close the pre-encore concert.

It’s not all perfect. There's a little too much grungey guitar bespattering everything for this writer. The guitar has long been part of The Prodigy’s armoury next to Howlett’s gigantic hip hop beats, but the way it’s smeared over “Firestarter”, for instance, drowns the song’s sharp edges. And the terrace chant aspect of some songs can be overplayed (hello, “Champions of London”). But none of this matters much. The band's sheer assault renders it irrelevant.

They end with a triple-headed grand slam of the anthemic newie “We Live Forever”, live favourite “Take Me to the Hospital”, and the raging 1994 classic “Their Law”, where the guitar comes into its own. “Fuck ‘em and their law!” By the time they reach this, I am ravening, twitching, throwing drink all over myself, stomping, high-fiving a throng of strangers, rictus grinning wildly. The Prodigy sate. They are a tonic for what ails you. Like the man says, this is what they fucking do. 

Below: watch the video for "Light Up the Sky" by The Prodigy

28 years into their career, they wreak havoc in a way very few bands of any age or era can


Editor Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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