With the Rockhal celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, it’s somewhat fitting that The Prodigy, the first band to grace its stage back in 2005 returned once more on Tuesday.
Having been at the forefront of the big beat/rave movement back in the early 90s, Prodigy went from playing warehouse raves to filling huge concert venues as their sound continued to connected with a new generation of kids looking to move away from what was becoming a waning Britpop scene.
With their 1997 album “The Fat Of The Land” they finally got their international breakthrough. Like all teenagers at the time, I was transfixed by the energy and attitude leaping out from the screen as Keith Flint jumped around an old abandoned underground tunnel looking slightly unhinged with his horn shaped hair on the video for “Firestarter”. Even all these years later, he still looks just as menacing and exciting.
With their latest album “The Day Is My Enemy” topping the UK charts on release, it’s clear the appetite for their abrasive dance music and punk attitude is still as feverish as ever.
However what they have become known for over the years is their electrify live shows and Tuesday was no different. Within their first five songs they managed to fit in “Breathe”, “Omen” and “Firestarter”, most bands would be delighted to have three songs of that calibre in a whole set, never mind being able to play them all so early on and still have enough to enthral for the rest of the evening. With 6 albums and 25 years behind them, they have amassed an impressive back catalogue of standout tracks to ensure that they had not left the show top heavy.
There was no let up from the outset, just sheer relentless energy emanating from the stage at all times with Keith Flint never standing still for one moment. If he was not running all over the stage, he was bouncing up and down on the spot. He recently mentioned that they can’t continue to play live for too much longer as they’re all getting older and can’t keep up the same energy levels but it didn’t look to be a problem on Tuesday.
It wasn’t just the relentless energy from the stage but also from above too, with a huge circular lighting rig, which can only be described as a spaceship looking for a place to land, with strobes and lights piercing through to every corner of the hall.
There was only one moment for a short breather through the night and that was during “Beyond the Deathray” with most of the band disappearing for a moment, it was left up to Liam Howlett on the keys to hold the crowd before launching into “Voodoo People”.
Bearing in mind that some of the songs have been recorded two decades apart, they still manage to sit comfortably alongside each other. The likes of “Nasty” & “Get Your Fight On” still have as much passion, energy and anger as the tracks they recorded all those years ago. It’s reassuring to know that they are not content on sitting back on their past achievements but still pushing themselves and producing relevant music for today.
It was left to their most controversial song “Smack My B**** Up” to get the biggest response with MC Maxim stirring the crowd into a frenzy one more time, orchestrating the whole crowd of the Rockhal to crouch down to the floor, building the tension and music till they had everyone including those at the back all crouching before releasing us all to jump around as the beat kicked back in. You couldn’t help but be caught up in it by that point.
After all these years The Prodigy still manage to enthral and energise crowds the world over, here’s hoping they won’t be hanging up the mic anytime soon.