For a long time I’ve been adamant that I wasn’t a fan of the Prodigy. On Sunday morning though I woke up, still dazed from their set at Lisbon’s Nos Alive the night before, convinced they’re the best live band in the world.
Like many, my first experience of the band was being scared shitless by Keith Flint in the ‘Firestarter’ video, as he ran around abandoned train tunnels sporting a haircut given to him by a pissed up Edward Scissorhands. I was not keen at all, and stuck with my suspicious for years, avoiding them at festivals, shoving their albums aside and shaking my head with confusion when mates tried to tell me of their brilliance. I was, it turns out, a total idiot.
Though the crowds were flocking to their set this weekend, I approached it with the caution of someone who’s long had their mind made up, but within about five sections I had turned my back on two decades of huffily dismissing one of the UK’s most important, vital and downright entertaining dance acts. I was in total awe.
Opening up with one of their biggest hits – the incendiary, almost 20-years-old ‘Breathe’ – at a volume that was both utterly overwhelming and perfectly measured, the relentless pace of their performance didn’t dip below turbo for the next hour and fifteen minutes. I was knackered just watching them. Whiplash inducing headbanging from Keith Flint provided a fitting foil to MC Maxim’s sweary shouts to gee-up the crowd, who were one of the most devoted audiences I’ve ever had the pleasure of seeing at a festival.
In fact, watching them swelling, bouncing and rocking as one, I got a tiny bit emotional – and it was nothing to do with the super-strength local spirit, I promise you. As Maxim shouted “Where my fucking fighters at?” for the tenth time of the evening, I quickly realised I was one of them. They’re playing Wembley Arena this winter, where they’ll be supported by the equally as explosive Public Enemy. I’ll be front and centre.