It was on the last day of a massive long weekend. I had planned ahead and conserved my energy, knowing that my scrawny legs would need all the help they could to get me through. I was going solo, but it didn’t matter, the pit was going to eat me anyway.
The sun was only just starting to set when DJ Shockone took the stage to open the evening’s insanity. Don’t let the soft orange glow fool you though, because as he put it, this wasn’t going to be “no sunset cinemas”.
Shockone’s opening mix was heavy on the Drum n Bass, and you could feel why he had been selected to open. The Prodigy musical DNA ran heavy through his mix, big beat bass spitting at you the entire time, a few glitch cuts sprinkled through, a throwback to some classic Bloody Beetroots with a sampling of ‘Warp’.
As Shockone brought his set to a thunderous conclusion, the pit was kicking off, and the sun was finally getting dragged down. The stage lights were ablaze now, and all in time for his major single from last year ‘Bleed Black’. It was the big finish every artist wants and a perfect way to transition out.
And for Enschway to transition in. DJ Enschway’s mix was heavy on samples and remixes. Opening with ‘The Island’ from Australian legends Pendulum and the explosion of the strobe lights [May need to add an epilepsy warning to the back of the tickets].
In all seriousness, Enschway wasn’t afraid to drum up some nostalgia by including some all-time classics, because, is there a set in existence that hasn’t been improved by the inclusion of 90s beat ‘Kernkraft 400’?
And I will give props to any DJ that includes ‘Freestyler’ and ‘Killing in the Name Of’ in the same mix. Why not give the people what they want.
And the people wanted The Prodigy. Anticipation mounted when the smoke machines kicked off, flooding the stage in that signature white haze. It was in those moments I began to wonder. How does a band that has spanned decades - developing a sound that shaped an entire genre of music whilst producing a truly infamous music video (the one that was banned from mtv) - encapsulate that into a single set? Opening with ‘Breathe’ is how. It sets the tone, the pace and the sweat for the rest of the night to come. You get the crowd heaving, the bass blasting and the smoke going wild. Maxim burst out wearing an all-black feather costume; Flint was out front, leaning over the crowd, rocking his iconic cut. A haircut I saw replicated by more than a couple of punters.
The set combined the best of ‘No Tourists’ with a collection of the best individual Prodigy tracks of the last 20 plus years. From ‘Nasty’ to ‘Voodoo People’ to ‘Need Some1’, highlights from all of The Prodigy’s albums made an appearance [Can we count ‘Voodoo People’ as a Pendulum guest appearance, because I am]. Flint and Maxim were working the stage, with Flint at one point grabbing a bottle of water, sucking in a mouthful, and projectile spraying it across the steamy crowd.
I’m going to be honest; I bit off more than I could chew by getting into the centre of that pit. I was rooted before halfway through the set. It was hot and the air was thick. To give you an idea, I was in Adelaide last week, and they were complaining about the heat. Seems they have never experienced a Prodigy pit before. A light shower of rain tried to cool us down, but I think it evaporated before it even made contact.
The Prodigy ended it all how they started it. Massive. You have to save the best for last, so, you can’t blame them for holding out ‘Smack My Bitch Up’ until the end. A few people tried to get the crowd to kneel down, but as soon as that bassline kicked in, everything went nuts. People were screaming the lyrics as loud as their broken voices let them, bodies were thrashing to the bassline and a circle pit started, just to top things off.
Then it was all over, and, as the crowd turned to leave, the rain started again, only heavier this time. Stepping out into the cool rain, it felt like the universe saying thanks for a pit well done.
'No Tourists Tour'
Tickets on sale now.
Thursday, 24th January
RAC Arena, Perth
Saturday, 26th January
Bonython Park, Adelaide
Monday, 28th January
Friday, 1st February
Melbourne Arena, Melbourne
Saturday, 2nd February
Qudos Bank Arena, Sydney
Supported by DJ Enschway and DJ ShockOne