After a year of mostly hiding, Chemical Brothers returned to the DJ booth for a set of three gigs that highlighted their supreme popularity in the industry.
Despite only playing a ‘DJ set’ as opposed to their phenomenal ‘Live Shows’, the duo would play Motion in Bristol on December 1st, and Manchester’s Warehouse Project on December 9th. However, the hottest ticket by far would be their December 2nd gig at London and the UK’s greatest venue – Printworks.
With their ‘Live sets’, you know exactly what to expect the moment they walk on stage; 90 minutes of pure Chemical Brothers, amalgamating the best of their entire back catalogue, all 8 studio albums spanning over a 20-year career.
However, for their ‘DJ sets’, it is more of an insight into the music that the Chemical Brothers love; the music that has inspired them and pushed them to the music they have created. Naturally, you would hear Chemical Brothers tracks throughout the set, though it is in no way the theme of the evening. At Printworks, the revellers were treated to an incredible three hour set that went on until 2am making them the first DJs to finish past midnight at this old newspaper printing factory.
With Dusky starting the evening, Erol Alkan then warmed the crowd in his unorthodox style of mixing, playing hard house and techno, almost to the stage where it had that element and slight sound of a Chemical Brothers touch.
As the countdown to 11pm dawned on the crowd, this new super venue started to fill with excitement. With lighting and theatre on a level unprecedented for an inside venue, this warehouse had its unconventional, elongated, rectangle-shaped dance floor packed to its full 6000 capacity – and you could feel it about to explode.
After shutting for the summer, Printworks opened ‘Issue 2’ in the Autumn with a new speaker system fitted, meaning the sound was more exquisite and deafening than ever before, almost sounding as though it has been perfectly tweaked for the sounds of the Chemical Brothers.
With a light and laser show that has to be seen to be believed, the London duo dropped straight into some of the most pumping house, delivering drops and fist pumping music that turned the venue upside down.
With the crowd completely raucous, it would be nearly 30 minutes before they were treated to their first Chemical Brothers tune of the evening, as they tantalisingly teased in ‘Go’ from their last 2015 album ‘Born in the Echoes’.
Though no one was complaining, the increased level of excitement that ‘Go’ generated was something else, and one could only feel what would have happened if Chemical Brothers had performed a live set in this ridiculous venue.
Though that thought would disappear almost instantly due to the hard-energetic pumping music that the Chemical Brothers mixed on stage. Over the course of the 3 hours, the deafening music never dropped below the level of excellence, and despite not playing their conventional hits, it still all sounded like Chemical Brothers, though cut up and chopped up with more bass and more drops. There is no doubt that they would have tested some new material too, it being over two years since their last album.
Towards the end of their set, they played arguably one of their greatest songs: ‘Saturate’. With such a noticeable beat to start the track, the euphoria was beginning to overcome the entire venue. As the song built up towards its crescendo and the drums and synths are turned to the max, the sound levels, strobes and lasers created an epic and memorable moment before the final 10 minutes of their set. It topped off an all-round incredible show, matched by an incredible venue.