Alexandra Palace, London
15th Nov 2018
Promoting their new album No Tourists, The Prodigy bring their big beat magic to London’s Ally Pally, turning the magnificent and iconic venue into a rave to rival the best of the 90s. Naomi Dryden-Smith went along to the second of two sold-out shows
Every time I go to Ally Pally I’m overawed by the sheer size of it. Beautiful as it is, it’s essentially a massive warehouse with stained glass windows that was, obviously, never designed to be a music venue. On the plus side, it’s a perfect venue for all-standing shows like this. I’ll get to the (minor) downsides later.
The set is an industrial scene, a bit Mad Max-like but with a London bus. And giant cage fans. Liam Howlett presides, like the Wizard of Oz, just visible behind his various contraptions. But it’s Keith Flint and Maxim who dominate the stage, rushing around like pantomime villains, or pixies maybe, snarling and gesticulating and generally whipping their audience into a frenzy. The feel of the show is tribal – enhanced by Maxim’s glowing warpaint, Flint’s trade mark hair spikes, and the throbbing bass.
Classics like Breathe (the opener), Firestarter, Voodoo People, and Smack My Bitch Up are slick and fresh-sounding. New tracks from No Tourists include Resonate, Champions Of London, Need Some1 are distinctly Prodigy, don’t really bring anything new to the table, but that’s okay. The sound is a bit muffled at times (one of those minor downsides) – Ally Pally, like the O2, can sometimes suck the life out of music, depending what it is – but it’s not bad tonight and adds to the whole shabby-warehouse-ambience. Disappointingly absent from the 28-song set is Poison, another downside but not Ally Pally’s fault – and you can’t have everything. The whole place is jumping regardless.
All in all, tonight proves they are still just as relevant nearly 30 years on – a class act.
If you missed them in the UK, you can still catch them in Europe before they head off Down Under:
Tue 27 Nov 2018 Max-Schmeling-Halle, Berlin
Wed 28 Nov 2018 Zenith München, München
Tue 04 Dec 2018 Festhalle, Frankfurt
Wed 05 Dec 2018 Mitsubishi Electric Halle, Dusseldorf
Fri 07 Dec 2018 Vorst Nationaal, Brussels
Sun 09 Dec 2018 Ziggo Dome, Amsterdam Zuidoost