The Chemical Brothers Hold Tight Birmingham

The Chemical Brothers @ Utilita Arena, 3rd November 2023

Legendary The Chemical Brothers took over Birmingham’s Utilita Arena on Friday night, turning the cavernous venue into a pulsating temple of synesthetic euphoria. As the audience, ranging from seasoned veterans to fresh-faced enthusiasts, converged on the dancefloor, the iconic duo of Ed Simons and Tom Rowland took us on a two-hour journey that transcended decades, proving that their mastery over electronic music remains as potent as ever.

The Chemical Brothers

The Chemical Brothers, Manchester’s sound pioneers since 1989, kicked off the night with the infectious energy of “Go”, setting the stage ablaze with a 23-meter wide LED screen that became a kaleidoscopic playground for the night. The immersion began, and we were promptly swept into a sonic odyssey that seamlessly combined three decades of their groundbreaking career.

The atmosphere in the Utilita Arena resembled a collective trance, a modern-day rave where the audience surrendered to the beats and rhythms orchestrated by The Chemical Brothers. The journey through their extensive catalog was a testament to the timelessness of their music. Tracks like “Do It Again” and “Mad As Hell” were not just songs; they were immersive experiences accompanied by visuals that transcended mere background displays. Monsters danced on the screen, neon marching bands paraded, and bendy figures swayed to the hypnotic sounds of “Hey Boy Hey Girl”.

The Chemical Brothers

The real magic of the night lay in the marriage of sound and vision. The duo’s long-time collaborators, Marcus Lyall and Adam Smith, deserve special mention for crafting a visual spectacle that transcended the boundaries of a typical concert. Balloons, lasers, confetti, and articulated robots weren’t just props; they were extensions of the narrative, enhancing the overall experience.

As the bass reverberated through the arena, it became evident that age was no barrier to The Chemical Brothers’ music. The dancefloor was a melting pot of generations, united by a shared love for electronic beats. The dance party reached its peak when classics like “Star Guitar” and “Galvanize” shook the venue, and the crowd responded with a frenzy that could rival any rave in the ’90s.

The Chemical Brothers

Amidst the madness, a moment of pause allowed the crowd to catch their breath, and the duo basked in the applause—an acknowledgment of a musical journey that has spanned over thirty years and shows no signs of slowing down. The encore, featuring “No Geography”, “Darkness That You Feel” and “The Private Psychedelic Reel”, brought the night to a crescendo, with rapidly flashing stained glass windows adding a reverential touch to the closing scenes.

The Chemical Brothers are not just DJs and they don’t just perform – they curate an audio-visual journey that defies the constraints of reality. A night where time seemed to warp, and the boundaries between past and present blurred in the ecstatic embrace of music and visuals. The duo is not planning to stop anytime soon so put on your rave clothes and join them on their tour.

Review and iphone shots: Andra Tudoran

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