Superb live release from the disco supremos...
Before Daft Punk became Hollywood Manga robots cruising the intergalactic disco highway, they released, in 1997, an amazing debut album called ‘Homework’. The sum of all their teenage musical influences, it revitalised house, stretched techno apart like melted mozzarella and made dance music, in terms of its accessibility to a mainstream audience, the new pop. They were French too, but that’s another story.
Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo were 22 when they took to the road for the first and only time to promote ‘Homework’ around Europe on their Daftendirektour. Their youthful aggression, basic equipment and desire to mess with people’s minds on a pretty fundamental level are what made those live shows so spectacular. Aside from being another peculiar career move, ‘Alive 1997’ is a recording of their show at Birmingham’s Que Club on November 8 that year; five songs, three hits dissolved into a non-stop 46 minute mix of elasticated acid, titanium-tough beats and the irresistible thud of da French fried funk.
For those disappointed by the sleek sophistication of ‘Discovery’ (and after its blanket praise, the dissenters crawl out), ‘Alive 1997’ is a reminder of how pure and simple Daft Punk could keep their music. Far more than an excellent live document, you imagine snippets of ‘Wdpk 1’ and ‘Wdpk !!’, when the
303 flanges, the hi-hats clatter manically and the crowd whoop with delight, will be DJ staples for years, just as tracks from ‘Homework’ are today.
There have been few live albums by dance acts, yet in a market saturated by banal lifestyle mix CDs, records such as this attest to the galvanising power of a tremendous rave. And like everything Daft Punk turn their hands to, ‘Alive 1997’ is an immaculately executed product. Play it loud enough and by the
time ‘Da Funk’ and ‘Rollin’ And Scratchin’ scramble messily into one another, you’ll be bouncing about your bedroom and reaching for the glowsticks, wondering where all the good dance albums were this year.
Though a limited release (it’s deleted on December 31), you have to wonder why Bangalter and De Homem-Christo should make available a record that is the antithesis of what Daft Punk have become today. Apparently, they felt this was their best gig of the tour and wanted to share it with their fans. But thanks to ‘Discovery”s meticulous media campaign, their biggest admirers nowadays are eight-year-old Gorillaz fans. From the cradle to the rave, then, ‘Alive 1997’ fills in all the gaps.