LIVE: The Chemical Brothers – The Empress Ballroom, Blackpool
There are few names in UK music over the last 20 years who have managed to straddle genres and bring different factions together as successfully as The Chemical Brothers.
Persuading indie kids to dance to techno, while bona fide ravers belt out choruses by Noel Gallagher, Wayne Coyne and Bernard Sumner is no mean feat, but there has always been more to the duo’s live show than purely smashing barriers.
That’s why Far Out simply couldn’t pass up the opportunity to head to the Baltic December seaside to catch Tom and Ed no doubt bring the house down and get the sprung dancefloor bouncing at the stunning Empress Ballroom, Blackpool. It’s an inspired choice of venue for an act able to induce euphoric frenzy at the push of a button.
And such is the case within seconds of the opening bars to the live mix of ‘Hey Boy, Hey Girl’ – so vast is the fictional brothers’ arsenal nowadays that every tune is punctuated by a classic.
If there is any downside to the hit-packed set that follows, it is only that you need to throw your pint of Foster’s down you neck within about four minutes before it becomes unbearably warm inside the venue.
It’s an eclectic crowd spanning young and old, with new generations of Chems fans seeming to regenerate with each tour – and with the duo showing no signs of mellowing on stage, it’s just as well. Ed Simmons walks out to the front of the stage to rile the crowd as New Order’s ‘Temptation’ provides a scintillating segue into ‘Star Guitar’.
The room is also an interesting collage of personalities who seem to have travelled from all over the north of England for a Friday night at the seaside. There’s just something refreshing about getting off the beaten track of Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds et al.
It’s fair to say those who have see the show before have come to know exactly what to expect from The Chemical Brothers, but the experience is nonetheless still a thrilling one. We’re taken back to the nineties and probably their finest LP Dig Your Own Hole for the evening’s closer. ‘Block Rockin’ Beats’ and a sprawling mix of ‘The Private Psychedelic Reel’ cause the bouncy dancefloor to reverberate one last time as the city dwellers dash for the last train home. A magical winter warmer.