The Chemical Brothers Live in Brixton Acadamy, London, March 23rd 2002, by Mike Wilcox

Tom at BrixtonThe Chems played the Brixton Acadamy in March 2002, as part of their World Tour. The following is a review by Mike Wilcox, and his opinions on the night.

OK, so Saturday's gig. Got there 11:30ish to find Mr Holroyd warming the crowd up. Even down the front things were pretty still, so he stuck on some huge records to sort that out, pleased to hear Annie's still superb Greatest Hit, Louie Austen's 'Grab my Shaft', Alan Braxe's 'Most Wanted', Reflex's 'Put Your Hands Up', 'Mindset to Cycle' - basically the best of Bugged Out from the past 3 years. Mixing was the usual Holroyd fare, so without his usual obscure but amazing records I wasn't as impressed. Should have got there earlier.

The Brothers arrived to rapturous applause around midnight. Setlist was something like this, but it has been a week so forgive mistakes:

Come With Us
Music Response
Block Rockin Beats
Song To The Siren
It Began In Afrika
The Sunshine Underground
Under The Influence
Out Of Control
Star Guitar
Dunno. My Elastic? HIA? Setting Sun
The Test

10 mins of noises that go "wah" as the crowd try to recover.

The one I labelled as Hoops? is the one with the awesome 'intro with bells on', and the dogs barking in the backdrop later on, on the album. I don't have a copy to hand.

The one labelled Dunno was a full track, but I didn't recognise it. Maybe it was a mad distorted album track (I've confused these things before), maybe a new B-Side.

Good bits:

Visuals: Huge backdrop, giant piecutter screen that swooped over Tom'nEd's heads during transitions. Robot Attack lives on!

New bits: The one I've labelled up as 'Dunno' above was mad and dead funky. It also had giant seagulls and insects for visuals. ACE.

The Surrender Stance: The Boys clearly believe Afrika is still a killer, I thought they were both going to go into a fit...

OOC: Even better than the mad cutup version they played at the last tour - sans rocky breakdown, perhaps a sign of the housier times?

TPPR: First time I've heard it in ages, made it sound almost fresh. The 2 (?) minute sequencer solo afterwards was so OTT it was hilarious! Not many people around me thought that, mind.

Bad Bits:

BRB->S2S: pretty much beat for beat the tracks they played back in 97.

No Chemical Beats!

First encore track, whatever it was, was a bit funny to dance to.

Same with The Test. I'm still not getting this as an epic track, it's good, but not really end of set magic like say.

After that Jon Carter took to the decks and played a solid (i.e. dull) banging house set. Very, very well mixed all the way through, but considering he's been doing that identikit mix of Medicine's 'Ape Don't Kill Ape' into Kahuna's 'Glitterball' for at least 3 months now I'd expect that. Ho hum.

The main problem with the gig was overfamiliarity, a friend who went with me who'd never seen them live thought it was excellent. Crowd were good (it was still rammed after they left), venue was as always superb (I forgot it was so large) and if it was 8 quid cheaper it'd been a good night out.

So get down there if you've not seen them in a while, it's well worth it - and I'll take the opportunity to say "see them DJ if you can" - the records they play still blow me away.