Tuesday 20 February 2018

Music: Brothers back to reclaim EDM crown

Legacy: Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons are back with a new Chemical Brothers album
Legacy: Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons are back with a new Chemical Brothers album
John Meagher

John Meagher

'Best. Sunday night. Ever" tweeted Nadine O'Regan, the arts broadcaster who presents an engaging show on Dublin alternative music station TXFM, and is not usually given to such hyperbolic outbursts. Nadine had just witnessed The Chemical Brothers bringing the Longitude festival at Dublin's Marlay Park to a spectacular close. I'd been away, but early the following morning my misery was compounded when a friend sent me a text that read, "You missed the gig of the year last night. Chem Bros incredible."

I shouldn't have been surprised. On every single occasion over the years when I've seen Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons in action, I've been struck by what a sensational performance they're capable of. And these geeks, who can happily walk down the street unmolested, seem to be as engaged with the business of being The Chemical Brothers in their mid-40s as they were when barely out of their teens.

More than most of their peers, or all those outfits who followed in their wake, Rowlands and Simons have managed to retain an outsider's sensibility, while delivering one huge crowd-pleaser after the next. It's crossover dance music par excellence, the type they've been turning out for 20 years and it makes the sort of EDM proffered by Avicii and Sebastian Ingrosso seem slight, inconsequential and utterly homogeneous.

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