Monday, June 01, 2009
The Prodigy at the Grove of Anaheim
As much as I hate to say it, Twitter does come in handy once in awhile. I received an update from the Grove of Anaheim and my jaw dropped when they said extra lights and speakers were being unloaded into the Grove for The Prodigy.
In case you don't know, The Grove of Anaheim has an excellent soundsystem and some of the best stage lights in Orange County. The Prodigy was going to bring in more of each? What was I getting myself into? These tidbits culled with the fact that The Prodigy haven't come stateside in many years had me anxiously waiting for one of England's finest electronic based acts.
In case you have lost track, The Prodigy do have a new album. Invaders Must Die is their triumphant return to their ferocious synthesizer driven songs. I knew I was in trouble from the photography standpoint when I saw a racks of strobe lights lined up behind the drum kit and gigantic space station of keyboards set up for Liam Howlett. I did manage to snap a picture of a modified vintage arcade game that seems to have been converted into a synthesizer. Can anyone identify the video game?
"World's On Fire" was a huge punch in the face as Maxim Reality (Vocals) and Keith Flint (Vocals) bounded back and forth as if they were boxers in a fighting match. I had my earplugs in and my ribcage was rattling from the sound vibrations of being in the photo pit. The crowd behind me went absolutely insane. It was an instant time warp to the times when the rave scene was exploding.
The haunting electronic jabs of "Breathe" raised the pressure of the room beyond its sound limits as the crowd continued to lose their minds. It was insanely intense to be that close and attempting to photograph the madness unfolding on stage. It is interesting to note that Ross Halfin emerged from the shadows and started photographing the show right beside me.
Mangled synthesizer oscillators continued to scream bloody murder all night as The Prodigy still managed to seem futuristic even though they have been in the game for almost twenty years. "Firestarter" burned bright and hot with Maxim spewing the venomous raps alongside Keith's confrontational singing. There was an unhinged look in Keith's eyes as if he was going to loose it at any second. It was exhilarating to watch such classic songs performed so intensely.
It seemed like they had only be on stage for a few minutes when they left for an a short break before returning for an encore. "Invaders Must Die" blew my mind with it adrenaline pumping arpeggiated synthesizer intro. The audience continued to feverishly dance and flail their arms in the air.
I was impressed how well the Prodigy stacked their setlist alternating new and old songs. I can't help but recall the controversial video for "Smack My Bitch Up" when they tore into the song. "Take Me To The Hospital" had everyone calling for a stretcher or their doctor with its surgical beats. Overall, this show will be in contention as one of the top shows of 2009.
Check out Ben Wener's review from the OC Register who seemed to agreed it was an intense show.