2018.11.05 – Brighton Centre, Brighton, England

Date: 5th November 2018
Event: The Prodigy Concert – No Tourists Tour
Venue: Brighton Centre
City: Brighton
Country: England
Support: Nation Charly, Rene LaVice

Tracklist:
1. Breathe
2. Breathe Beats Fill
3. Resonate
4. Nasty
5. Omen
6. Wild Frontier
7. Champions Of London
8. Voodoo People
9. Run With The Wolves
10. The Day Is My Enemy
11. The Day Is My Enemy (Bad Company UK Remix)
12. Need Some1
13. Everybody In The Place
14. Firestarter
15. Roadblox
16. Light Up The Sky
17. No Good (Start The Dance)
18. Smack My Bitch Up
Encore:
19. We Live Forever
20. Their Law
21. Take Me To The Hospital

Extra info:
Review by Thomas H Green, www.theartsdesk.com:
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.
“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.
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.

Review George Imbert, www.artnoiseevents.com:
“I’m off to see The Prodigy later.”
“The who?”
“The Prodigy, mum.”
“Aren’t they that metal band?”
“No, Dad, they’re The Prodigy.”
This was the conversation I had as I swung by home to say hello, intending to raid the fridge but ended up playing my parents the most popular Prodigy tracks on Spotify. I had been so excited to see The Prodigy all day, but playing Firestarter to my parents and dancing to get them hyped me up even more.
Something that was driving the excitement on was my hazy memories of seeing The Prodigy play Reading in 2009, and being squeezed into the crashing waves of people being moved by The Prodigy’s huge sound, and feeling a little bit overwhelmed at being referred to as Maxim’s “Reading warriors”.
The excitement was shared amongst everybody at the Brighton centre, despite it being a Monday night: you could feel it in the air, see it in people’s wild eyes (just the excitement, there) and the weird concoction of punk, dane, metal and even reggae dress ups (so many dreadlocks). I think the look of the crowd just acts as credit to how many styles The Prodigy mould into their unique sound: the intensely loud vocals of Keith Flint to the point of expertly controlled overdrive and feedback, the raw punk energy of the drums, the techno beats, and the sampling of reggae’s big players like Max Romeo – these elements to the band’s sounds do a tiny tip of the hat to all the bands that influenced The Prodigy, and to the groups they must have rubbed shoulders with or gone on to influence during their long career. Their long career full of bitchingly good tunes.
I had a seated ticket unfortunately, so thought I’d buy myself a couple of pints to cheer myself up, but the moment I got in and sat down I got back up again to throw myself around to Omen, a tune I was throwing myself round to as a teenager when it first came out. The Brighton centre isn’t the biggest of venues but the sound the band made was so mahoosive it felt like they were playing to a stadium much larger than the 4,500 capacity space.
As the bangers kept coming, Smack My Bitch Up transcending everyone to another level of energy, the lights and stage produced some intense visual spectacles you couldn’t take your eyes off. The crowd were reeling off the energy the band showed on stage, and the sound amplified was explosive, everybody left sweaty and smiling, like they’d been to a party a bit like the one in the video of said Smack My Bitch Up. The Prodigy’s new album, No Tourists, brings even more raw energy dance tracks, still drawing up those sounds from their older material (the album title track even sounding a bit Beastie Boys-esque), and I’m sure people seeing them on this tour will be just as mind blown as I was in Brighton.

Review by Ben Miller, www.brightonsource.co.uk:
There’s a timely element to The Prodigy and Queen’s concurrent re-emergence into the spotlight. In December, it will be 27 years since a re-release of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ denied Liam Howlett’s cherubic-faced trio a number one single before they had even released an album. They went on to release three hugely important albums, of which the latter two – ‘Music For The Jilted Generation’, in 1994, and ‘The Fat Of The Land’, in 1997 – avenged that near miss at the top of the charts. Ever since, these anarcho-punks have variously disappeared, ditched recordings (the video for ‘Baby’s Got A Temper’, involving cow fluids and a chorus namechecking rohypnol, seemed a particular low point) and created strangely uneven records.
For all the wishy-washy critical reception their 21st century recorded output has received, The Prodigy have never lapsed live. Anyone requiring evidence of their reputation for seismic stage shows need only glance at the queues for entry and beer around this arena. As a mammoth version of their ant emblem rises with the curtain, a double-decker bus peeps out into the darkness – the centrepiece of their new album, ‘No Tourists’, and a fitting symbol for the industrial engineering of their sound.
Howlett, as ever, stands fixated on those colossal beats behind a central console, leaving boom-voiced howlers Keith Flint and Maxim Reality to enter with the focused intensity of incendiary acrobats, and cause the anticipatory air of a riot. Short of a spot of cartwheeling or levitating, there are still few live pairings to match the intense physicality of these rugged yet lithe dissenters. Constantly oscillating between entranced techno-punk contortionists and pantomime villains on the prowl, you suspect they’d provide rich visual entertainment given only the speaking clock to dance to. Howlett’s latest trick, though, has offered an unexpected surprise. Even if the most ardent apologist would struggle to claim that ‘No Tourists’ is a groundbreaking addition to their back catalogue, the tracks The Prodigy brandish from it hold their own on a stellar setlist.
These are gigantic, ceaselessly catchy rave songs, and they demonstrate Howlett’s determination to dispense with the blandness he speaks so witheringly of in dance music, delivered with his usual sledgehammer approach. Lyrically, ‘We Live Forever’ veers too close to generic bluster for comfort, but its build-up and explosion are a pure adrenaline rush on a grand scale, with Flint and Maxim as ringleaders of the raucous mob. Pleasingly for revivalists, parts of it are clearly derived from the same scattergun sampling and vocals as many of the band’s earliest tracks, including that runner-up to Queen, ‘Everybody In The Place’, which resurfaces to spectacular effect. The nostalgia flows like molten for those who bought it first time around, but Howlett has re-armoured its live guise for a new generation of clubbers, and it’s a highlight of a unifying, thunderous two hours that flies past in a frenzy of fists-up, crashing breaks under a surge of lasers.
If there’s a sense of poignancy in hearing decades-old songs sound as inimitably great now as they once did in rooms with low ceilings, there’s a distinct lack of time to pause for reflection. Live guitarists, styled and firing off chords with hefty rock theatricality, boost the uproar of ‘Voodoo People’. The sheer power, as well as the relentless run of irresistible singles The Prodigy sequence, catches you off guard, and there’s some relief to be evinced upon noticing the giant circular fans refreshing Flint and Maxim from the perimeter of the stage.
There’s an inevitable train of thought that The Prodigy come from a rave scene diametrically opposed to modern arenas, and that the cartoonishly primal dance of tracks like ‘Breathe’ – their big-statement opener here – comes from an underdog identity forged in fields, squats and dive bars. It’s a view Howlett subscribes to, but he’s finally struck upon a formula intertwining that legacy with a newfound purpose and energy. In the dazed aftermath of its delivery, that seems like no small feat.

Review by Jamie MacMillan, www.brightonsfinest.com:
Fireworks night proved to be the perfect timing for The Prodigy to put on a seriously explosive show, the only casualties being a few thousand sets of eardrums and surely a few sore heads the following morning. A night with Liam, Keith and Maxim is not one that goes by gently, and tonight is no exception. It is deafening, it is incendiary, it is a performance from a band that, despite some shaky recent recorded output, still put on one hell of a live show.
Any setlist that begins with a track as powerful and legendary as ‘Breathe’ is one from an artist of supreme confidence. With Keith Flint prowling the front of stage, and Maxim dressed in a giant Yeti-esque outfit, there is no let-up right from the start. ‘Resonate’ from this month’s No Tourists follows, and it makes an important early statement. If there has been one common criticism of the band, it is that they haven’t moved their sound on since their late-90s heyday. In this setting, in this environment, it matters not one bit. That track, and the others from their new album that are scattered amongst tonight’s set, fit perfectly. There are no awkward segues between styles, no mis-steps. Everything slots together, flowing perfectly from one peak to another.
Cumulatively the effect of the night is like being hit with a baseball bat repeatedly, such is the power and relentlessness of the bass and beats slamming from the stage. Normally that would be a bad thing, but tonight it’s a pleasure. The lights, the beat, everything crashes through you, every bassline is felt deep in the gut. The band members play their parts just as you would expect, Maxim MC-ing to fire the crowd up whenever there is even the slightest chance of a drop in pressure, while Keith seems to drop in and out of the fray at will. Behind them all, save for a brief thumbs-up before the encore, Liam Howlett remains anonymous behind his decks.
Though they may be resisting becoming a heritage band, it is still the classic moments that you would expect that deliver the highest highs. ‘Voodoo People’ sees the crowd surging after one note, whereas, if the atmosphere in the room could be bottled up – as red lights bathe Keith in a devilish glow just before the explosion of ‘Firestarter’ – it would sell for millions. For a split second, the arena becomes like a scene from The Matrix, only with beer being seemingly frozen in the air rather than bullets. Bigger yet is the one-two of ‘No Good (Start The Dance)’ and ‘Smack My Bitch Up’, a combination that actually makes the room seem to shake.
It is the type of gig that brings old mates back together for one wild night to remind themselves of their younger selves 20 years ago. However, it doesn’t exist in a hermetically-sealed time capsule of nostalgia. The fire and the fury of The Prodigy live is something to behold, and the years are taking nothing away from their ability to turn any room into riotous carnage at the drop of a beat.

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