Review: The Chemical Brothers

5.5 out of 10: Sunday, 10.40pm, Other. The fact that Rowlands and Simmons are obscured from view, combined with the bizarre but oddly captivating graphics, seems to destroy all human element in the show, which is actually something the pair were very good a providing back in the day.

Stage: Other

Time: Sunday, 10.40pm

Dress code: Extensive collection of waterproof apparel to fend of driving rain. As for the Bros, who knows? They're not visible over their serious collection of sonic equipment.

In summary: Thanks to a series of fantastic, immense live performances throughout the 90s, when Tom Rowlands and Ed Simmons were at their zenith, the Chemical Brothers have a great reputation on the festival circuit. Tonight, however, the nerdy zeal that the pair possessed a few years back seems to have been replaced with serious delusions of prog-rock grandeur. Not in terms of sound - musically speaking the duo stick to their big beat, genre-blending dance music - but in terms of the truly astonishing graphics display. It is like something Peter Gabriel or Pink Floyd would have thought was tremendously progressive and modern, about 20 years ago. Here's an example of some of the random images: a scary man in clown make-up, bucking donkeys, splattering paint and what looks very much like the ident to MTV Cribs. A fellow observer asks: "Where's the narrative?" There is none, just a series of random images, some of them curiously aggressive, none particularly pleasant. And yet, oddly captivating at the same time. There is a brief interlude when lasers hit the sky and scan the audience and it looks and feels fantastic, but I'm sorry to report that yet again, the sound was far too low. Dance music is about simple pleasures and only really works successfully when it is all encompassing of the senses. The fact that Rowlands and Simmons are obscured from view, combined with the bizarre but oddly captivating graphics, seems to destroy all human element in the show, which is actually something the pair were very good a providing back in the day. Everything about the show feels well considered, it's obvious the pair are trying for bombast on every level, but the execution feels poorly judged and far too introspective.

Highlight: The flares that were let off in the crowd were great fun for the people not standing close enough to risk burns and the laser interlude mentioned above was very impressive.

Lowlight: Sound too low and they played Hey Boy Hey Girl too early on.

Marks out of 10: 5.5

Where they'll be playing next year: Dance Tent East.

Will be talking about this until: Monday, when the discussion returns to the horrible weather.

Contributor

Rosie Swash

The GuardianTramp

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