There are only a handful of DJ/producers that have the ability to captivate an audience every time they take to the stage.
Different genres have come and gone over the past several decades, giving various artists a platform and then stripping it away from them as times change and demand emerges for another sound.
Being able to create a signature style that resonates with the masses for all eternity is a far trickier path for electronic music connoisseurs but that is exactly what Fatboy Slim has done. The Kent-born musician is considered to be a cornerstone of big beat music’s popularity in the UK, alongside other prominent acts like The Chemical Brothers and Groove Armada.
Focusing on a dazzling array of loops and patterns, the composition is often compared to the early beginnings of acid house and techno.
Like any genre, British music lovers were soon starting to crave the next big thing in the early noughties and whilst Fatboy Slim took a brief hiatus from releasing records, fans still idolized his music.
If there was ever a greater sign of just how strong his appeal was, “Eat, Sleep, Rave, Repeat”, went straight to the top of the UK charts, despite his last record coming out seven years before.
Looking around the Albert Hall in Manchester it was hard to escape the overwhelming diversity of the crowd. There were people of all different ages, brimming with excitement for one of the most vibrant characters in dance music. Having seen a number of different musicians take to the stage in this impressively grand setting, it is hard to think of another occasion where overwhelming anticipation has been etched on every single face, waiting for the headline act. As lights slowly uncovered the blanket of darkness, Fatboy Slim arrived on stage, first standing in front of the turntables to show the utmost appreciation to the audience and the way they had offered their undivided attention.
There has always been a slightly left-field side to Fatboy Slim’s personality, usually turning heads just for his appearance, never mind the eclectic and mesmerizing sets. Performing with no shoes and wearing a balaclava-style mask have been signature trademarks over the years. This time it was the visuals which grabbed people’s attention as a skull with wings appeared, before flames engulfed the unusual symbol. A fascinating introduction also included an orchestral-style version of “Praise You” which instantly provoked the entire room to sing the iconic record in perfect symphony.
Whilst Fatboy Slim proceeded to bedazzle the crowd, showing he still has his finger right on the pulse with the hottest sounds, it was hard not to be fixated on the almost hypnotic visuals in the background. Sometimes this part of the experience can be almost forgotten by artists, but that certainly wasn’t the case with Fatboy Slim, as a giant image of the man himself, decorated with a tribal-style pattern adorned the screen. Iconic track after iconic track continued to maintain the Albert Hall’s complete attention, whilst a grandiose selection of lights provided a breath-taking visual treat.
The all-round experience was truly indescribable. Standing there and seeing one of the UK’s best tastemakers showcase his impressive music knowledge was a joy to behold and certainly reaffirmed why he is held in such high regard around the world.
Photos courtesy of Jack Kirwin
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