Sunday, March 22, 2015

On a balmy autumn evening, beside the quiet rippling waters of Sydney Harbour, a chaotic rave was exploding underneath the colourful canvas of Luna Park's Big Top. Punk-rave music pioneers, The Prodigy, were back on stage with new songs after a six-year hiatus.

Way back in 1990 the Essex trio fired up a storm with their anarchic tracks; combining acid house with punk riffs and techno bass. Their distinct sound is consistently edgy with passionate aggression and their numerous singles have managed to top charts without fail throughout the years.

Their last album from 2009 Invaders Must Die was a slightly more uplifting and celebratory sound, but it seems that prodigal producer, Liam Howlett was intent on a much grimier tone for their new album. Known for his fastidious perfectionism, there is no wonder it took him so long to hone yet another masterpiece. The Day is My Enemy is savage and menacing with thundering bass and breathtaking breaks. The Prodigy has re-ignited the resonance of fury and fight that brought them to the foreground of the dance genre all those years ago.

All the raging emotions that Liam had poured into his music were present in the charged audience of the Big Top. The crowd was eclectic; from ageing diehard fans, to punks with Mohawks that sky rocketed from the pulsing crowd, and the young Warriors geared up and ready to wreak havoc with their frantic moshing.

As soon as the first track, one of their most infamous Breathe dropped, the entire tent was alive with intense energy. Throbbing strobe lights heightened the electric atmosphere and we all knew that we were in for the craziest ride Luna Park had to offer.

Both new tracks were played early in the set, their politically charged Nasty getting the crowd shouting in enlivened unison with Keith and Maxim, and their latest 'dancier' Wild Frontier had everyone bouncing around enthusiastically. Not a limb was still in the tent; the entire set had the crowd zealously moving and singing. This was a party and everyone was there to get down and dirty. Keith and Maxim boisterously coaxed the crowd into a frenzy, urging their Warriors to push harder and harder. Bodies were flailing in ecstasy as track after track of masterfully mixed anthems like Omen, Firestarter and Voodoo People were blasted at the crowd with infectious drum and bass drops and gritty synth. Liam skilfully orchestrated each sound as Keith and Maxim howled their lyrics into the night.

Halfway through the set Maxim rushed through the crowd and up into the seating area to urge everyone to "stand up and fight". It's this genuine passion for performing that makes The Prodigy such a marvel to witness. During Smack My Bitch Up Liam asked the crowd to drop to the floor, everyone complied with bodies squashing and merging into a carpet of limbs until the beat dropped and everyone propelled themselves into the air in a triumphant surge to dance.

The Prodigy are true champions of performance. Every second was bursting with energy and talent with each member vigorously charging around the stage and hyping up the space. The crowd's appetite for anarchy and adrenaline was well and truly satisfied.

The Prodigy's new album The Day is My Enemy is out on 30th March

Written by Cosima Wood