The Prodigy Shreds Speakers Live in Chicago

Ok, so I’ve read all the reviews, and I’ve seen & heard live footage that nearly convinced me not to go. Something inside of me really wanted to check it out. Last time Prodigy was in Chicago was 8 years ago. And in my eyes, it is quite possible I may not have a chance to see them again. So I threw caution to the wind and embarked on a mission, flanked by three friends, to check out one of the definitive live electronic music acts – The Prodigy.

First, a little history starting with their first album ‘Experience.’ This music was pretty revolutionary for its time. For all the fire-engine siren synths, sped up vocal samples & rollicking broken beats, Prodigy really innovated the underground electronic music sound and form-fitted it for radio-catchiness. Almost single-handedly they created a whole subgenre of electronic music – without their track ‘Ruff in the Jungle Bizness’ all of a sudden Jungle, and its most current incarnation, Drum n’ Bass would be non-existent. The collection of songs on ‘Experience’ really chronicled rave culture in the UK – they were the party soundtrack. A few years later they followed with ‘Music For A Jilted Generation’ that took the previous formula and elevated the level of mass appeal to a fever pitch by creating raver anthems such as ‘Their Law,’ ‘No Good (Start the Dance)’ & ‘Poison.’ Finally after producing hit single after hit single with tracks like ‘Firestarter’ & ‘Breathe’ they attained US radio airplay, perfecting their sound and turning on millions of American kids to their frenetic beats. With the release of ‘Fat of the Land,’ which was practically a glorified singles collection by the time it hit the stores, the Prodigy had attained rock stardom to the max, seamlessly blending breakbeats, heavy metal elements & hip hop to create an infectious hybrid form of electronic music that, put simply, cannot be fucked with. The Prodigy has inspired many to create electronic music or continue down the path that they had paved. I don’t think there are many DJ’s who don’t at least have one of their songs on vinyl. Some of us have many. Remixes of some of their tracks have been done so many times, there are practically new versions popping up every year.

So with this little introduction, let’s just say this was something I decided I couldn’t miss. And I was right. There were moments I melted with dancefloor and felt chills crawl up my spine. The rest of the crowd was all whipped up in a frenzy too. The band was toting a live drummer & guitarist as well as the usual semi-circle of synths & laptops & 2 MC’s. Never did the the live guitar or drums seem too intrusive on the sequenced backbeat. The lighting was flawlessly synced up to the show for maximum effect. The vibe was nothing short of amazing. They dropped all the big hits, and came out for an encore completely rattling the bassbins into life. Anybody who missed this, shame on you. Too cool to admit the Prodigy helped bring the whole elctronic music revolution to the forefront? Well they did, and you missed a rockin’ show.

Adam Freeland opened things up with a nice mix of mainly breakbeats & a little bit of 4/4, as well as sporting a late 70’s feathered hairdo. He started off strong, but wavered during the second half of his set. While technically the tricks he was performing on the decks were cool, the cohesiveness of his set got lost in translation. One of the highlights of his set was a great remix of a Bloc Party track. One of the lowlights was a miserable remix of the Doors’ ‘Hello I Love You.’ He played his own production ‘We Want Your Soul’ which went over really well, but beyond that nothing very amazing. Some strong Rogue Element-type tracks towards the beginning.

Overall we had a blast. Being able to see the Prodigy on one of the 5 dates they are playing Stateside was really cool in itself, add to that the fact the show was a look into the future of electronic music performance, enthralling and full of good vibes and you have a near-complete package.

Anybody about to see them in Miami for Winter Music Conference is in for a treat!

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