14 September 2010

Live: The Chemical Brothers @ The Hollywood Bowl

{ Relentless. }

Who: The Chemical Brothers
Where: Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, CA
When: Sunday, 29 August 2010

{ The Chemical Brothers - "Swoon" }

If there was one word I'd use to describe The Chemical Brothers set at the Hollywood Bowl, it would be "relentless."

The show was on a Sunday and for those of us that actually have things like a "job," the appropriate chemicals for such a show was not in abundance.

No matter.

From the opening song - "Galvanize" - to the end of the set, the crowd were on their feet, tripping out to the lasers and the visuals and just soaking in the music on a beautiful night at the Hollywood Bowl.

For a lot of people, it seems like The Chemical Brothers disappeared after their absolutely massive album, Dig Your Own Hole, which stands - to me - as one of the best big-beat/electronica records of all time.

And even though their subsequent records haven't necessarily had the "hit-quality" of Dig Your Own Hole, I'd argue that each record after that seminal album has been better than the one before. And The Chemical Brothers have always - to use a cliche - been able to keep their fingers on the pulse of electronic music.

Dig Your Own Hole (1997) really captured the vibe of the big-beat scene that included the likes of Fat Boy Slim, The Crystal Method and the Propellerheads. It was the sort of music that introduced mainstream America to the rave culture.

In 1999, they were there with a more house-inspired Surrender that reflected the changing vibe of the electronic music scene. A scene that moved more into progressive house and trance.

Come With Us came out in 2001 and stands as one of my favorite Chemical Brothers albums. If you haven't the absolutely brilliant video to "Star Guitar" directed by Michel Gondry, do your eyes and ears a favor and watch it now! (Gondry should probably direct every single music video. Every single one of 'em.)

By 2005 all the cool kids were deciding that raves were dead or played out. And, well, it probably was. Hip-hop has always been strong in America and The Chemical Brothers delivered with Push The Button, that featured more hip-hop influenced tracks like "Galvanize" (featured Q-Tip!) and "Left Right." Frankly, these two English kids beat a lot of hip-hop producers at their own game.

Not sure why I missed the boat on We Are The Night. Maybe I lost a little interest in that sort of thing in 2007. But when I started hearing songs from their latest record - Further - I was excited all over again.

I think they have really perfected this deliciously psychedelic-electronic vibe with this record. All of their songs are accessible and even familiar but never tired. Further also clocks in at an efficient 51 minutes and one of those wonderful records where you start track one and just listen all the way through.

It's truly a wonderful album.

And to hear these songs at a gorgeous venue like the Hollywood Bowl?


{ Seriously, buy this record. }