‘SMACK MY KEITH UP...!’
PRODIGY (and friends)
live at ‘Temple Newsam Park’,
Leeds, August Bank Holiday 1997
For KEITH FLINT (17 September 1969 - 4 March 2019)
And then there’s Beck, a giant Rubik’s Cube of all-over dead-pan humour and angular riffs, coming on for his umpteenth encore dragged up in full Rhinestone Cowboy gear as his band prance in horse’s heads, and DJ Small impossibly scratches out “Smoke On The Water” with just two turntables and a microphone. And Beck sniping ‘it’s a proven fact that people who throw shit have smaller genitalia than other people!’ Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon guests with Ash (already augmented by new guitarist Charlotte Hatherley) to sing lead on “Oh Yeah, She Was Taking Me Over”. And Bluetones, harder than last time we saw them, but still kitten-soft, do “Heartbreak Hotel”, their tribute to the portly drugs ‘n’ burger-meister who (allegedly) returned home twenty years ago this day. ‘Hope you’re not one of the cynical ones who believe he’s dead’ demands Mark Morriss earnestly. And just for once, I suspend disbelief.
An OD is stretchered off while his delighted girlfriend takes Family Album photos of it all for posterity. And there’s an Auto-Geddon sculpture of impacted VW Camper Vans with painted-on Dinosaurian ribcage structures Dub-Henged into a mystic Techno-Collage you can walk through. While looking up during Echobelly’s set you see a plane provocatively circling dragging its ‘U2 + CAST at ROUNDHAY PARK’ streamer, skywriting adverts for a rival attraction in the cloudless blue. Placebo dedicate “Nancy Boy” to the freshly discorporated spirit of William Burroughs, while Brian Molko in silver clingpants jeers camply ‘for those people who threw that bottle. You have very bad aim!’ Then Kula Shaker feed the ‘Western sun’ verse from Crispian Mill’s Prodigy-collaboration “Narayan” into “Into The Deep”. Sometimes truth may come in strange disguises. Today it comes midpoint between his Ramones T-shirt, his Gautama Buddha ambience, and his ‘song about having a good time – forever!’
It rips your head. This is a mutant notion of Love and Peace, paved in regurgitated pizza and veggie noodles. It makes your ears sore and your arse so numb it’s like it belongs to someone else. You’re going to throw up any minute. It tastes raw, post-ironic and distressed. What it lacks in taste it makes up for in pace and in your face. It says Cake? Let them eat DRUGS…! But it’s the greatest legal high on Earth.