If you could somehow have transported the builders of The Roundhouse back to the Camden venue for last night’s Chemical Brothers gig, they’d have been stupefied. Because the electronic dance duo shook the character-rich venue to its Victorian foundations with a bowel-shaking, laser-lit performance of epic proportions.
The building’s myriad pillars, struts and buttresses all played their part, contrasting starkly with the high-tech equipment on show. This somehow underlined the fact that - for all their gadgets and gizmos - at the heart of this amazingly successful act lies two blokes with an extraordinary ability for creating dance floor filling, life-affirming tunes.From the opening moments, which saw the middle of the ecstatic crowd bathed in a halo of purple lights and blasted with dry ice from above, through to the multi-coloured, hazy, thumping finale, this was a set which managed to both confound expectations and exceed them.The confounding came during the first half. Featuring new material from beginning to end, it married first class visuals on the mile-wide video wall (that’s only a slight exaggeration) with a pile of fluid, slick new tracks. It was a brave move to run so much new stuff together, but they pulled it off. The high point was Swoon
, a summery single that fit the overheated atmosphere perfectly.After a brief interlude, the duo returned for a trawl through some of their past material. With everything from paint explosions to robot armies playing on the enormous backdrop, multi-coloured lasers flashing in all directions and just the right amount of dry ice, it took Hey Boy, Hey Girl
to drag the audience’s attention back to the music.A veritable medley of Chems greatest hits kept that attention firmly locked in, and as the night drew to a close, the message Love is all
sprang up on screen. Well, it’s fair to say their music does trigger the best kind of emotional response.The Chemical Brothers play The Roundhouse tonight and tomorrow. Both gigs are sold out, but it might be possible to snag the odd return from the box office.
Last Updated 22 May 2010