A concoction of acid house, rock, electro and big beat with a hint of techno was mixed up at the Bournemouth International Centre, and dance fans lapped up the combined musical juices created by headliners The Chemical Brothers with ample help from Cagedbaby and DJ James Holroyd.
Arriving just in time to witness the electro-fused rock of Cagedbaby, a moment of relief shivered through my body. Tom Gandey’s creation has been likened to Mylo because of the band’s ability to bring together driving guitars and dance grooves – I did not want to miss these guys. They delivered a pounding start to the evening with Gandey’s winy vocals offering the perfect compliment to the dirty beats providing the driving force of some tracks.
winy vocals offering the perfect compliment to the dirty beats
The bass booming, songs such as “16 Lovers” enticed the crowd to get their dancing shoes ready early and soon those who had ventured into the main arena to see who was warming up could not resist getting a closer look at these boys. With Jim Carmichael on drums, Jimmy Day on keyboard, Kan Lailey on guitar and Tom on vocals there is certainly a band look and feel to much of the music. But the benefit of having an electronic aspect provides layers to their beats for infectious melodies. Just when you think it might be a bit mellow, in comes the dance groove to get the body moving. Critics have placed Cagedbaby under the ‘breakout dance act’ heading that benefited Royksopp and LCD Soundsystem. Their epic walls of sound should easily see them reach touching distance of both.
It was then up to James Holroyd to provide a soundtrack to bridge the two live acts, and he did so via acid house and filthy electro. It cannot be easy to only have 30 minutes in which to DJ, but by 9pm the crowd were feeling the vibe and you could taste the anticipation in the air. It was time for The Chemical Brothers.
bone-shaking techno beats and clear, crisp psychedelic sounds
Now on their third tour of 2005, The Chemical Brothers wasted no time laying down the heavy beats with “Hey Boy, Hey Girl” before getting everyone up to speed with newer tracks “The Big Jump” and “Galvanise”. They were already working up a sweat on the dancefloor as the crowd erupted into all manner of arm waving, pointing and jumping like loons on a basketball court. As a guitar riff ripped through favourites “Music: Response”, “Under the Influence” and “It Doesnt Matter”, the pace was becoming relentless. The bone-shaking techno beats and clear, crisp psychedelic sounds were all matched by an inspired visual feast of lights, lasers and video accompaniment.
After 50 minutes of classic live Chemical Brothers action, they paused for breathe by bringing in the slower sound of “Surface to Air”, one of their smoother, soothing tracks. In that pause, they seemed to loose all momentum that had made the dancefloor go mad. Despite pulling out a new track and more favourites, including “Golden Path” and “Chemical Beats”, the flow and mixing felt far too stop and start. It seemed they could not get back to that same pulsating rhythm of the first half. No one could argue with the quality of the final tracks, it was just not as awe inspiring as the opening. Fortunately an encore of “Hold Tight London” (or Bournemouth as the video stated) and the surprise use of “The Sunshine Underground” as closing track rather than “The Private Psychedelic Reel”, reminded us of their talent for rousing finales.
The Chemical Brothers always put on a fantastic show
The Chemical Brothers always put on a fantastic show, and this was another example of how dance acts can be spectacular live entertainment. Although it felt like much of the crowd did not expect them to build up and change their tracks to favour the dance nuts rather than the casual music lover, those in the know (including myself) savoured every minute. It was just a shame they lost the feel for the frenetic vibe they seemed to be aiming for at the start and settled for a more composed focus towards the end. Overall, an excellent night for dance music with a promising new act getting another taste of a big audience and the old hands flexing their muscles once more.