RAC Arena, Perth WA
January 23rd, 2019
Supports: DJ’s Enschway and StoneOne
“Come play my game, I’ll test ya….”
Test us they did. The Prodigy are known for their insane stage presence, energetic crowd and pulsating beats. They’ve played everything from Future Music Festivals to Big Day Outs down under, and have lined up on the biggest stages across the world from major dance festivals to Download Festival in the UK, perhaps the biggest heavy metal festival in the world! They were set to headline the cancelled 2016 Soundwave Festival alongside Disturbed and Bring Me the Horizon before that festival unfortunately imploded on itself. They collide genres. Yes, they are predominantly a frenetic rhythm of drum and bass, something Wall of Sound would ultimately steer clear of, however with their live members Leo Crabtree and Rob Holiday adding drums and guitar respectively for their live performances, all of a sudden the band take on a more rock or metal presence, so we went along to the band’s first show of their No Tourists Australian tour see what makes The Prodigy command an audience in this almost “rock show” fashion, and why tour after tour so many so-called ‘metalheads’ line up to to get a taste of these Londoners.
For starters, the band bring their own version of fireworks, in the form of a spectacular light show fronted by duelling vocalists, the evergreen, Maxim Reality and Keith Flint. Completed by Liam Howlett on keys the trio will celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2020. It’s been almost three decades of mayhem and judging by the band’s latest album, No Tourists, there appears no end in sight to this intensity in the near future. With the gigantic lighting rig and bank of lasers, there was nothing subtle about the staging. It was a ravers wet dream, which had me second contemplating WTF I had got myself into. I was a Prodigy live virgin. A metal-head, with an open mind, so bare with me in my findings……
Two DJ’s are supports, so already my ‘metal’ senses are telling me I’m outta my league here. The audience look like ravers, but a sprinkling here and there of metal t-shirts had me holding onto some kind of hope. 80% of them look like they’re on something, but maybe I’m wrong and they’re just happy to be here. There’s a whole lot of pushing buttons going on on stage and dancing going on in the aisles and floor space. What the fuck have I done?
Then the main course kicks in.
Classics like ‘Breathe‘ (the opener), ‘Firestarter‘, ‘Voodoo People‘, and ‘Smack My Bitch Up‘ are slick and fresh-sounding. Taken from the brilliant 1997 album, The Fat of the Land, these are the songs I was most aware of and by the looks of the crowd going apeshit in the GA section, it was the same for the Prodigy faithful or as frontman Maxim Reality likes to yell out, “warriors“. In fact, as the setlist barrels through almost 30 years of music, it’s these ‘warriors’, coupled with the crazy laser show and Flint and Maxim prowling the stage encouraging madness that really sets the stage alive. Is it metal enough to drag me? Still not sure.
However amongst the chaos, the throng of people of jumping in the air and carrying on, on the dance floor I see a strange phenomenon. A circle pit was in full whirlpool mode. I kid you not folks, a fucking circle pit. Maybe there is some ‘metal’ness in this chaos after all. Then ‘Champions of London‘ kicks in sounding a little Rammstein-like with the band’s sole guitarist going mental. ‘Voodoo People‘ makes the whole Arena erupt, again that killer electronica/guitar riff making the energy peak past the scale it should and all of a sudden I’m getting a clearer picture why The Prodigy plays festivals like Download. In fact, the next song in that little more heavier trilogy, ‘Run With the Wolves‘ is very Ministry like, from the pulsating drum beat to the riff and Flint repeating, “Whatcha going to do when the hounds are calling”? It’s something Al Jourgensen would approve and this metal-head is now fully into the vibrating beats bursting through the ample RAC Arena speakers.
Sure, the setlist does meander a little towards the back end as The Prodigy filter through some newer tracks, but in the scheme of things, the ‘warriors’ care little making the most of every bombastic drum ‘n bass line and in a simpler way to put things, just go fucking mental at everything.
The line between what is deemed ‘metal worthy’ or belongs on what festival is a lot more grey for this writer now after witnessing these legends parade their brand of drum ‘n bass mayhem. It’s a lot more industrial metal than what I thought it would be, but either way a great way to lose your mind for two hours and I encourage all ‘metalheads’ out there to take the plunge and get amongst the disorder because whilst The Prodigy are predominantly dance affiliated they are,in this writers eyes, ‘metal as fuck’!
Review by Jim ‘Plugga’ Birkin
Champions of London
Run With the Wolves
The Day Is My Enemy
Everybody in the Place
Light Up the Sky
No Good (Start the Dance)
Smack My Bitch Up
We Live Forever
Take Me to the Hospital
The Prodigy – No Tourist Tour 2019