Saturday 25 May 2019

Fatboy cooks up a treat for Marlay

Fatboy Slim
Marlay Park, Dublin

Fatboy Slim still a superstar DJ. Photo: Getty Images
Fatboy Slim still a superstar DJ. Photo: Getty Images


IN the 1990s, Norman "Fatboy Slim" Cook helped wrest electronic music out of the clutches of the elitists and obscurists and turn it into a proudly mainstream affair.

Arriving at the height of Britpop, he appropriated Oasis' blokey, beery aesthetic and re-directed it towards the dance floor.

The result: a run of zeitgeist-defining hits, mixing a Tarantino-esque love for old soul samples with an ear for nagging, irresistible beats.

Alas, it didn't take long to milk the formula dry and, in the years that followed, Cook appeared rather lost for direction. However, he found a new calling in 2002 when he presided over a mass open-air rave in Brighton, heralding his second coming as an 'uber-DJ'.

It's in this guise that he comes to Marlay Park. Following brash, breezy sets by electronica prodigy Calvin Harris and wide-boy rapper Dizzee Rascal, and 90 minutes of generic Euro-trance from French deck-spinner David Guetta, Cook takes to the stage to the strains of 'Pure Imagination', the creepy 'Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory' ballad, and proceeds to sweep the audience into big beat heaven .

Cook isn't playing live, so it feels a bit strange when he starts to spin his own music -- why not just bring along some backing vocalists and sequencers and do the whole thing properly?

Accompanied by an awesome sci-fi light show, he starts with 'Praise You', the faux-gospel tune that gave Cook his first number one as Fatboy Slim in 1999.

This is followed by the lad mag rumble of 'Fatboy Slim Is F***ing In Heaven' and the Wagnerian 'Right Here Right Now', with its famous video of a fish evolving, via primitive computer animation, into a fat American.

Recently out of rehab, Cook seems to have made peace with performing sober.

At Marlay Park, he throws himself into the role of cheerleader to the raving masses -- he's constantly waving his hands above his head and extolling the crowd to do likewise.

We're forever being told the era of the superstar DJ is over. On Sunday night's evidence, it's enjoying one heck of an afterlife.

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