LIVE: The Prodigy / Public Enemy - Manchester Central

It’s fair to say massive arena tours don’t seem to come under Far Out’s remit all that often, but when faced with a double bill featuring two indisputable legends of the game such as this, we just had to be there.

There aren’t many acts that could pull off the coup of persuading Chuck D, Flava Flav and current DJ, Lord, to play understudies for the evening, but the way The Prodigy continue to rock every venue they visit to its core with a frenzied confidence is truly unrivalled.

Public Enemy take to the stage at 7.45 and as ticket holders are frisked by security staff on entry, a huge queue can be seen snaking hundreds of yards down the road.

The room is packed to the rafters by the midpoint of their support set, however, making the poignancy of their minute’s silence for the Paris attacks and their call to “fuck racism and separatism” all the more powerful.

At times it’s a strange mix between serious and cheesy and Flava’s impassioned rallies sit alongside medleys of riffs by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Nirvana and The White Stripes.

But all in all you will struggle to find a better opener to kick off your Friday night party.

In all honesty though, it takes a matter of seconds after we see Keith Flint bound onto the stage to launch into a visceral opener of ‘Breathe’ to realise that the ride we are about to be taken on will blow everything else out of the water.

Last year’s The Day Is My Enemy saw the trio prove that – despite six years between album releases – they are not only as consistent but also incessant as they have always been.

At a time when popular electronic music has become plagued by deep house with no personality and a style that far surpasses any kind of message, it’s encouraging to know that we still have Flint, Howlett and Maxim to give the world the shake it so badly needs.

As Flint leaps up and down during ‘Firestarter’ and ‘Roadblox’ it seems inconceivable that he’s 46. The trademark peroxide double mohawk and ghoulish eyeliner make him look identical to the former’s iconic 1997 video.

The set is a healthy mix between the old and new – a factor that suits a crowd which ranges from reformed middle-aged ravers out for a rare night of reliving their youth, right through to first timers who must have been born almost a decade after The Prodigy initially shattered our airwaves with Experience.

A reimagined rendition of ‘Everybody in the Place’ precedes a frantic ‘Invaders Must Die’, before the main set comes to a side-splitting crescendo of euphoria with ‘Smack My Bitch Up’.

The phrase ‘by halves’ has never been anywhere near The Prodigy’s ethos, and so again proves the case in Manchester with a bumper encore that pummels an infatuated crowd with ‘Their Law’, ‘No Good’, ‘Wall of Death’ and ‘Take Me to the Hospital’ followed by a mass-singalong outro of ‘Out of Space’. Formidable.

Patrick Davies