Manchester has long been cited by countless musicians as a hugely influential factor behind the different styles and sounds they have decided to pursue. The duo that make up the Chemical Brothers, both of whom were born in London, admit it has also helped shaped them into the artists they have become.
With both quickly growing fond of the city’s music scene, especially the iconic mecca that was the Hacienda nightclub, they soon began to define their sound.
Along with other iconic names like The Prodigy and Fatboy Slim they have always been seen as an act that helped champion big beat; demonstrating their wizardry with synthesizers to conjure up all sorts of abstract sounds gave them a real sense of individuality at the outset and it was this that had people flocking to see them, their explorations of various genres, including house and techno, captivating crowds wherever they have performed.
Over 20 years in the scene enjoying such worldwide success might cause some acts to lose sight of where it all started, but Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons have regularly asserted they will never let that happen. Hearing artists voice how much a place has meant for them and their careers is always a delight, and as soon as the pair were unveiled to play the Store Street venue there was unprecedented excitement for their return.
If a homecoming show didn’t provide a big enough reason to attend then how about a very special set from another supremely talented DJ/producer by the name of Paul Woolford? Responsible for providing masterful records under a whole swathe of monikers, it was his murkier Special Request which was going to be presented on this occasion, and not too long after appearing on stage I could see almost everyone around me was just as awe-inspired by the way he was seamlessly stitching together the two different sounds.
This is a type of set I have always appreciated because there is no clearer reflection of a musician’s versatility than when their various projects are held up alongside one another.
Hearing the contrast between more rugged sounds and his iconic piano house style was mind blowing and made for an overwhelmingly energetic performance. Both styles in their own right would be enough to provoke unanimous appreciation but there is something quite stunning about hearing them intertwine with one another.
As The Chemical Brothers took to the stage I was thrilled to see the duo pick up where Woolford left off, continuing to forge a warping path through all kinds of sounds. One discernible difference between the two acts was how much darker The Chemical Brothers went, actively seeking out some of the murkiest records. Looking around it was clear to see I wasn’t the only one enjoying the incredible voyage.
After waiting so long to see them it is safe to say I was left completely awestruck by their ability to navigate sumptuously across various spheres of electronic music, and can fully understand the aura around them.
Images courtesy of Photos By Louis
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