The Big Beach Party...
Live In Portrush, Chemical Bros
I absolutely love seeing The Chemical Brothers live. There's not a lot that beats being surrounded by a sea of people losing themselves to an audio-visual smorgasboard of electronic battleweapons delivered by the masters of the rave, particularly in an outdoor setting, for which they are the perfect hosts.
All the elements were seemingly in place for a classic Chemical Brothers adventure - a massive crowd (easily double last year's turnout), a massive stage, and of course the massive screens large enough to accommodate their legendary visuals. All we were missing, was a massive soundsystem.
The Scandinavian tour bus was well and truly in town with Steve Angello and Eric Prydz providing the big afternoon set's which were crowd-pleasing if a little samey with 'Sweet Dream's', 'Song of Life' and Prydz' latest chart-botherer 'Pjanoo' receiving some of the biggest reactions. Axwell's frontman greeted the crowd with a 'Good Evening Portsmouth' which also went down a treat. However, given the last-minute nature of this year's party, they did well pulling together a full days line-up, but a bit more live music would have sat well during the day.
The Chems long-time tour DJ James Holroyd pulled off a great acid-house set that included Dave Clarke's 'Compass' and a remix of Adonis' 'We're Rocking Down The House', right before the headliners took to the stage for their first ever Northern Irish outdoor gig.
Now some of my favourite moments from seeing the Chemical Brothers live over the last few years include the moment halfway through 'Galvanize' when the second kick-drum drops and the sub-bass sends people loopy. The crescendo of 'Saturate' where it bursts into glorious technocolour and you leave yourself with sore throat from screaming so much and the breakdown of 'Star Guitar' when the crowd sing along. Sadly a lot of these moments were lost on the 15000+ fans who turned out in Portrush, it was just way way too quiet for it to go completely off in a 'oh-my-god-i'm-having-the-time-of-my-life' kind of way.
The Chems stormed through a greatest hits set nearly identical to the set they toured with last Summer that opened with 'Galvanize', before dropping into 'Burst Generator', 'Do It Again', 'Hey Boy, Hey Girl' and at one point included Primal Scream's 'Don't Fight it, Feel It' in the mix and then into 'Out Of Control' followed by 'Star Guitar' and literally hit after hit after hit. They were flawless as per usual and the perfect act to close the gig that nearly didn't happen with 'Leave Home' and 'Block Rocking Beats' making an appearance right at the end, accompanied by a massive fireworks display that exploded into the north-west skyline.
We've had Fatboy Slim, Basement Jaxx and now The Chemical Brothers live in Portrush over the past few summers. The Beach Party has in this very short space of time become a integral part of the Irish festival calendar, and rightly so, it's a great day out, with the most spectacular backdrop of any festival in Ireland. It will be interesting to see who tops the bill next year given the firmly electronic reputation it's earned for itself and the shortage of mainstream electronic acts capable of headlining such an event. It's a tricky one. Let's hope they've got their thinking caps on already.