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The Chemical Brothers, Back With Those Block Rockin' Beats

The Chemical Brothers play the Riverstage in Brisbane


Brisbane Riverstage

Tuesday, 27 February 2024

We arrived on a balmy Tuesday evening at my favourite venue in Brisbane, the Riverstage. A natural

amphitheatre overlooking the river, at Brisbane’s Botanical Gardens it is a place that is tailor made for

the Chemical Brothers' high octane machine music. With the warmup DJs in full flow the crowd, and

anticipation, was building in readiness for the Chems to get underway at 8pm.

Having seen The Chemical Brothers several times over the years, you know exactly what you’re

going to get when you see them live – absolute classics peppered with newer stuff that still manages

to hit the spot. They delivered, by and large, again on this occasion.

Kicking off with a 3D blue illuminated skull giving a spoken word intro inviting the audience to come

with, Ed and Tom, the duo that have been releasing music for 30 plus years now, to leave the Earth

behind. The two mates, originally from Manchester University, then walked out and opened with 'Go'

– a true crowd pleaser that got everybody moving from the off.

The Chemical Brothers play the Riverstage in Brisbane

It didn’t take long for them to hit a bonafide classic ‘Do It Again’. Taken from one of my favourite

albums of theirs - We Are The Night - it has become a staple in their sets and you can see why as the

breakdown was twisted and weaved with aplomb leading to a drop that has become the Chems'

signature at live gigs.

What followed was a melee of solid tunes all merged perfectly, enhanced by the use of huge-scale

imagery of a strange devil man repeating "just let yourself go" along with dancing elephants and stick

men falling over. The first truly huge track of the night, and one of their best live, was up next with

'Hey Boy, Hey Girl' teased and tweaked to perfection before the acid-ridden drop sent the crowd wild.

After this absolute monster of a tune we were given a few lesser known tracks to sink our teeth into including 'Feels Like I am Dreaming' taken from their album from last year For That Beautiful Feeling. If anything, some of the newer stuff hasn’t quite struck that resonance with the crowd yet, and whilst they are decent enough tracks in their own right, they did fall a little flat especially when interspersed with the gargantuan classics that we all knew they had waiting up their sleeves. Speaking of these classics, up next was my personal favourite, 'Star Guitar', and this time around they absolutely nailed the introduction of it twining it with New Order's 'Temptation', until dropping in the shimmering chords to a backdrop of bright golden lighting that flooded the crowd in a moment of pure ecstasy.

What a tune!

We knew from this point onwards it was going to be hit after hit and they didn’t disappoint with

'Setting Sun', 'Elektrobank', 'Chemical Beats' and 'Block Rockin’ Beats' to follow they had the crowd in the

palm of their hands. Leaving the stage momentarily to come back for the encore we were left with

only one song left to satiate our appetite and they didn’t disappoint closing with another absolute

monster from their canon – 'The Private Psychedelic Reel'.

As we left we had time to reflect on what has become a truly polished live show, with a back catalogue that speaks for itself, acknowledging that whilst the newer stuff might not quite tickle the fancy the classics will remain winners live for many years to come.


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