Prodigy - Manchester Apollo - 6.12.04

For some The Prodigy take them back to a time when dance music was relevant rather than sanitized chart fodder, but in the process as the fans hit their mid thirties the Prodigy have entered the nostalgia phase of their career where most of the audience waits with baited breathe for "Firestarter" and "Breathe" and drifts during the electrofried "Girls".

While the kids are into grime and breakbeats, take the nostalgia fest away from the "Fat Of The Land" period with Jane Middlemiss sycophantically slavering over "Poison", what you're left with is beats that still sound fresh nearly a decade after they were first released. Whereas once it was Keith Flint with his trademark green tuffs, it's now Maxim that takes centre stage freestyling over the old school tracks while Flint comes across as a middle aged Johnny Rotten eccentric rather than snappy youthful terrier he used to be.

"Beats", "Their Law" and "Mindfields" all hit the mark and the sweat soaked atmosphere in the apollo is electric, especially when Liam drops a large dose of "Thriller" into "The Way It Is", but there's a general feeling that we're watching the band go through the motions and with a set lasting just over an hour it's all over too quickly.

When Liam Howlett spent nearly 8 years working on "Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned" he put the band in an impossible position and while tonight was ok, it wasn't the mind-blowing spectacle it used to be. When their contemporarys  such as the Chemical Brothers still seem relevant you have to think how longs is it before Howlett puts the name the Prodigy to bed and returns to work on a studio opus under an alias.

Words: Alex McCann
Photos: Shirlaine Forrest

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