Thursday 22 March 2018

Review: Firestarters get back to the Point

Electronica: The Prodigy 3Arena, Dublin

The Prodigy
The Prodigy
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

The Prodigy are the indestructible cockroaches of the early 90s rock and rave crossover scene. Since 1990, Liam Howlett and his colourful merry men have lit up the clubs, charts, festivals and arenas. It is only a Monday night, but when the Prodigy burst on-stage all guns blazing to the furious beats of Breathe, they appear to be on an evangelical mission to assault any school night lethargy and demand and command the audience to dance like it's Saturday and New Year's Eve rolled into one.

Keith Flint and Maxim Reality are still the collective's high-octane front men, bounding around the stage like a pair of possessed court jesters. Howlett sits behind his bank of equipment with a serious expression of focused concentration, while a guitarist and drummer beef up the sound to a blistering intensity.

They liberally dip into this year's sixth studio album, The Day is My Enemy, but they know how to pace it with nearly 25 years of hits. Their calling card 1996 number one hit Firestarter is dispensed with only a few songs in.

Voodoo People and Everybody in the Place are towering reminders of their 90s heyday. Tellingly, there doesn't seem to be room on the set list for their 2004 album Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, a relative flop that saw them temporarily relegated to playing the Olympia.

Against all the odds, the Prodigy are enjoying a late career renaissance on the back of two great albums in a row. They've managed the impressive feat of becoming a heritage act to ageing ravers, while also appealing to a new generation of fans who wouldn't have been born when they first started terrorising middle England.

"Are all my fighters here?" Maxim Reality bellows at the auditorium, as if he is leading us into battle to a soundtrack inspired by a Molotov cocktail of early rave and the Sex Pistols.

The pace is breathtaking and there isn't any slacking or slow sets. The Prodigy are still crazy after all these years. Music is definitely all the better for it.

Irish Independent

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