Do you know that feeling when you watch a live performance back and your whole body shivers? The hair on your arms stands on end, your heart rate quickens, and your breath gets short. This is what I get when I watch the earth-shattering Chemical Brothers 2019 Glastonbury set. I am instantly back in that moment. The warm June night air enveloping my best friends and me, a big smile on my face, and a warm beer in hand!
It is amazing to think it’s “just two guys on DJ decks”.… well just two guys on decks performing LIVE music from six number one albums and thirteen top twenty singles, including two number ones! Their shows are SO much more than your typical ‘DJ set’ (do not even get me started on their technical rider). The amount of time and passion they put into their displays and visuals only enhances the experience, making it second to none. After all, there is a good reason they have headlined ‘The Other Stage’ for a record five times since 2004.
The intense array of bespoke visuals was developed for The Chemical Brothers by Marcus Lyall and Adam Smith, paired with strobes galore, lasers and lights makes them more than worthy of NME’s apt review: “There is no greater live dance act in the world right now.” (NME, 2019).
An interview with Lyall and Smith, the show’s designers, stated: “The visuals become the lead singer. Most of the films involve real-world action shot with performers, sometimes enhanced with computer graphics and featuring incredibly ambitious productions’’.
(You can read the full interview here – Dezeen 2018)
Personally, I believe their visual performance shortens the space between you and the DJs because you can see the whole show. Rather than squinting to see the tiny person on the stage, your viewpoint is focused up and around you. You are dancing with the people next to you, fully engrossed in the music and the visual spectacular before your eyes. They also have GIANT robots on stage for good measure.
This is an excellent example of how to headline a main stage as a DJ: Bigger than life visuals, so the 5ft 4 lady at the back of around 40,000 can also live that moment. Performances like that are why I got into festival production in the first place; I highly suggest you see these agents of amazing live in your lifetime.