On Thursday night (May 16), the dynamic duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons took over LA’s Greek Theatre with a blistering set of electronica. Better known as The Chemical Brothers, the tag team hailing from Manchester, England commanded the sold-out crowd like it was a ’90s warehouse rave.
The group’s 9th studio album, No Geography, recently was released to critical acclaim. Fittingly, their set list warped through the time spectrum effortlessly. Beginning with “Go,” featuring mesmerizing vocals by rapper Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest fame, it set the tone for the 25-track performance.
Two new tracks included “Free Yourself” and “We’ve Got To Try,” bringing classic techno and house vibes to the outdoor venue on this mellow spring night.
While young up-and-coming DJs in the EDM scene look to make noise with loud personalities and jumping on the mic, the “Dust Brothers” sit in the pocket, allowing their futuristic beats to do the talking.
The group debuted back in 1995 with the legendary Exit Planet Dust record. It changed the dance scene, creating a global community at a time when the internet was in its infancy. “Chemical Beats” got the visibly older crowd moving as the glitchy fast-paced track brought everyone back to their origins. Seamlessly transitioning from one album to the next, and back again, the soothing sounds of “Swoon” began to emulate into our ears.
Let’s not overlook the visual components to this live show as well. The Chemical Brothers have put out master class music videos during their long tenured career and they utilize these animations of wild animals and dancing robots into their performances. It simply works well and makes you want to groove.
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If there were a documentary made about underground parties and the rave scene of yesteryear, “Elektrobank” would undoubtedly be included. Clocking in at 134 BPM, the hypnotic rhythm takes you on a ride and provides the staple Chemical Brothers sound.
Q-Tip made another appearance (vocally) later in the night on “Galvanize,” from 2005’s Push The Button. Rowlands and Simons occasionally stepped to the side of their control center, raise their arms in victory, and spark a reaction. The minimal fan engagement surprisingly felt fine, as the beats were bumping and there was no letdown.
1997’s Dig Your Own Hole may be the DJ group’s most recognizable work. Towards the end we were treated to “Block Rockin’ Beats” and the encore concluded with “The Private Psychedelic Reel.”
The Brothers from across the pond took us on an intergalactic space journey and show no signs of slowing down. All I want to know is when can we go again?
Michael Silver is a journalist and photographer based in Southern California. He covers music, sports, technology, and streetwear. Tips & pitches: [email protected]