I'm not ashamed to say that I was really psyched for the Chemical Brothers to touch down this past Saturday in Brooklyn's McCarren Park pool. I mean, first of all, it was a quick ten-minute walk away from my house (and yet, I drove over...oops); second, Ladytron was slated as the opening act (and I had never been able to catch them live in New York); and best of all, I was finally seeing the Chemical Brothers perform live, not just one of their (also fabulous) DJ sets!
The venue was a perfect choice for the show-the empty pool was filled with a motley mix: inebriated hipsters looking for a dance fix, aging ravers practicing their old-school dance moves (Tripwire photographer Gabe Kuo and I were particularly, um, entertained by an older gentleman who REALLY got into dancing around... in a robotic, Michael Jackson sort of way), and basically every European expat in the tri-state area.
NYC's beloved Rub DJs provided a surprisingly robust and intensive set, playing a mix of tracks that seemed to reference early Chem Bros beats, as well as an expertly blended mash up of current dancefloor bangers that got the crowd dancing early and hard. Ladytron hit the stage around 7pm, bringing a slightly goth-y vibe to the stage. As it was still light outside, Ladytron's revered light show was not really perceptible from the audience, and to make matters worse, singer Helen Marnie's microphone cut out over and over during their short set. However, I was impressed with their set, peppered with a number of hits ("Playgirl," "Seventeen") and new tracks ("Destroy Everything You Touch," "Witching Hour"). Come back soon, Ladytron!
By the time the Chems hit the stage, the audience was good and ready for an old-school dance thro down. As soon as the stage went dark, a roar went up as the Bros hit the stage and the stunning visual reel began. Tom and Ed began the evening with an ominous loop of "Battlescars" segueing into "Galvanize," letting the gathered devotees know that they were in for an intense evening of sound.
To call the evening with the Chemical Brothers a sensory overload would be an understatement-from our vantage point at the front of the stage, we were assaulted with a barrage of clean, crisp bass beats (side note: I love when the Brits come to town, because they are so anal-retentive about their sound being bad-ass), glorious highs notes, and a mesmerizing palette of visuals (provided by Vegetable Vision's Adam Smith) that perfectly lent themselves to the music of the night. Treating the performance as a complete retrospective of past and present singles, the Chems pulled out all the jams, including "The Boxer," "Out of Control," "We Are the Night," "Star Guitar," "Believe," and the evening's ender, "Block Rockin' Beats."
As Gabe and I streamed out of the McCarren Pool, I could definitely tell that the crowd was feeling what I was feeling- a little bit manic and a whole lotta exhilarated. I have to say, I completely understand why The Chems are considered one of the best electronic acts working today-they completely understand that their fans want their synapses fried and their ears twitching. Thanks, Tom and Ed, for working it out.