“All the warriors. All the fighters. All the real VIPs.”
Maxim pointed them all out. The sea of revelers up close and personal at the Riot Stage on Sunday night, who had waited for this moment, and were there to “Breathe the pressure” along with him, Keith Flint and the quiet genius behind it all, Liam Howlett. The Prodigy. The Riot Fest headliners were here. The song lyrics are true, the night is my friend.
Twenty five years running and The Prodigy have no dull edges. Quite the contrary. From their debut album Experience, through to this year’s monster release The Day Is My Enemy, the music of The Prodigy continues to be precision honed and purified into a form that defies genre and dance music stereotypes. And knowing Howlett’s refusal to creatively sit still, the band will continue to morph, yet they will always remain unmistakably The Prodigy.
The Prodigy are an electronic band who first made their mark during the 90’s era of breakbeat and hardcore techno. But they were always a little bit different than the rest. Edgier, rebellious and also very musically complex. Others came and mostly vanished along with the rave scene. The Prodigy remained. When 1994’s Music For The Jilted Generation was released, it was obvious The Prodigy had no intention of being confined to a room full of ravers. The more melodic synths and loops heard in songs such as “Wind It Up” were much darker and industrial as displayed in the infectious “Poison” and “Voodoo People”. And the band was moving into punk territory by including music about protest. “Their Law” was open opposition to the UK government’s attempt to outlaw rave parties by restricting sound levels specific to dance music being played in the evening. And the lyrics were clear how they felt about it; “F ’em and their law”.
Today, you won’t find The Prodigy on the bill of any EDM festival. They cannot be contained in a DJ booth; Keith and Maxim do not stand still, and include musicians on drums and electric guitars in their live sets that add an extra layer of musical uniqueness to the atmosphere. No, The Prodigy play with the powerhouse performers of metal and punk as they should; Black Sabbath at Download festival a few years back and this past weekend, Motorhead and Rancid at Riot Fest. The energy and impact they impart on an audience is better suited for the head bangers and the rockers.
At Riot Fest this weekend, The Prodigy made their mark. There were fans in Slayer shirts dancing and a lot of looks of sheer amazement at how relentless the experience is. They played the hits; “Breathe”, “Firestarter”; the new; “The Day Is My Enemy”, “Nasty”; the controversial; “Smack My Bitch Up”, “Their Law”; and the simply wicked “Voodoo People”, “Take Me To The Hospital”.
As for the rest? All killer, no filler.