The Prodigy

o2 Academy, Glasgow


There's a man down the front and he is not dancing. He is not moshing. He is standing still and he is reading.

It is not any old book, either. It's Pretend You're In A War: The Who and the Sixties by Mark Blake the writer and music journalist.

In it you learn that the title comes from Who guitarist Pete Townshend's response when asked how he prepared himself for The Who's violent live performances.

It's apt, because while it may not be the Sixties, a war is exactly what ensues as the lords of rave-punk stride onto stage.

As if taking the advice of the Townsend motto, the book is swiftly put away as the early synth chime squawls of Omen cause mayhem, disturbing the initial silence and a sold out venue, stoked up by a cleverly playlisted old school DJ set, explodes in a wave of sweat and violent thrusting bodies.


The Essex electro-rockers arrived to a deafening roar and while their fans may have got older, there was definitely no let up in the intensity of the moshpit as Maxim and a madly staring Keith Flint, looking more and more like a Satan wannabe, cajole the fans into even greater efforts of dancing and screaming.

Maxim says, "I can't hear you", a lot. An awful lot.

And if there is one flaw in tonight's hour-and-a-half it's that the synths for long periods are too low in the mix. So low in fact, it was difficult at time to tell what song they were playing and a shout of, "we can't hear YOU", was apt even down the front.


The long pauses between tracks could have been technical difficulties and may have induced headscratching moments, but the throng of smelly sweaties up front, it was a welcome time to gulp down some distributed water and get your breath back.

It's incredible to think it is 26 years ago that they truly emerged from the warehouse scene before becoming one of the first dance combos indie kids would not sneer at and really only one of those early rave-influenced tunes remained in tonight's set, the glorious Everybody's In The Place. It would not sound out of place on a 90s arcade game.

Their core fans who grew up with them, many will be in their 40s, seem to have retained the energy to last the chaotic pace to the last, which is set to 100mph from the start as the riotous Nasty and Firestarter are belted through within the first five songs.


There is nothing quite like The Prodigy on full throttle, and as there are no slowies or ballads, it remains unrelenting and at the same time euphoric throughout.

This was the fourth of eight pre-Christmas shows which preludes the release of their seventh album due to be released next year.

Intoxicating new songs due on the album such as a heady Resonate that fans won't be surprised do not sound a world away from the usual high-tempo acid-rockers that have become their trademark, are given an airing before even a teaser on social media or on streaming sites.

The brains behind it all, keyboardist and songwriter Liam Howlett remains firmly concentrate on the tech, an array of computers and synths, save for a gesture to the crowd before an encore, where he thumps his chest and appears to mouth to the crowd that they were the best.


The setting is far more intimate than their usual big arena or outdoor festival appearances, and that clearly adds to the visceral, explosive atmosphere.

It was perhaps apt then that Maxim decided to take a wander through the crowd while on vocal duty to get to know the fans, having earlier distributed some much needed bottles of water to dehydrated fans at the front.

Smack My B*tch Up, their final song before an encore was always misunderstood. Perhaps knowingly controversial, the band deny it is misogynistic and advocates violence. It's a song about pure hedonism; a call to do things with vigour and intensity.

The crowd and the band, who confirm that they are one of the most energetic live bands still,  certainly did that.