Bristol Anson Rooms

God's favourite space cadet has remained on US time during his entire British tour, just in case he is called home to collect his Grammy....

God’s favourite space cadet has remained on US time during his entire British tour, just in case he is called home to collect his Grammy. But, hey, he’s [I]always[/I] been on [a]Moby[/a] Time anyway, right? And right about now, the punk soul brother is more popular than ever. If pre-[a]Fatboy Slim[/a] America was largely unmoved by breakbeat rock, it is now offering its most prestigious music award to the original ‘Christian vegan ex-punk’ of bonkers techno euphoria. Throw in a Brit nomination for his gold-selling techno-blues masterpiece ‘Play’, and suddenly the whole world’s on [a]Moby[/a] Time.

After a decade of mostly tape-driven solo shows, the Mini Me version of Billy Corgan now fronts a live band featuring a drummer, DJ and punk-goddess bassist. DATs and drum machines still play a big role, but this format also allows for softly strummed ballads, totalitarian ravecore, and soaring sampled-soul anthems like ‘Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?’. He’s tried everything from gospel to death metal – now he’s playing them all at once.

Clearly [a]Moby[/a] and the zeitgeist have finally forged some kind of accord. There is certainly more than a trace of Prodigy-on-a-budget brutalism about his pumped-up Bond theme, and the slamming turntable rifftronica of ‘Bodyrock’. The euphoric Italia-house piano rolls of ‘Next Is The E’ and revitalised rave mantra ‘Go’, meanwhile, are pure Gatecrasher trance in their revved-to-the-max epiphanies.

There are nods to Digital Hardcore’s breakbeat punk ferocity in the mashed-up 1991 rave meltdown ‘Ah Ah’ and in the record-smashing, turbo-nutter [I]|ber[/I]-gabba techno-jabber speedfreak megablast ‘Thousand’, which peaks at over 1,000bpm and registers about, ooh, 6.7 on the Richter scale. At this point, [a]Moby[/a] is in messianic pose on top of his keyboard, as arc lights frame him in heavenly amber. Jesus Christ! Pure showmanship, of course, but it still takes your breath away.

It’s a crucial development. [a]Moby[/a] 2000 has evolved much further than simply cashing in on the techno trends he invented a decade ago. While the mainstream has moved towards him, he has also embraced more orthodox notions of rock performance. Subtlety is still not his strong point, and you sometimes crave a dash of genuine [I]soul[/I] amid the overdriven big-beat stomps, but he is certainly energising the crowd. Bristol has gone pogo-rave-hands-in-the-air mental, and you can’t buy that kind of unforced exhilaration with all the drugs on earth.

So disco-rock’s prodigal son is back in the fold – even if, deep down, he marches to a different drummer. But when God’s your DJ, you can dance how you like.

You May Like