Chemical Brothers review: Sensory overload stuns Latitude crowd

The Chemical Brothers headline the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, Suf

The Chemical Brothers headline the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk. Picture date: Saturday July 24, 2021. - Credit: PA

Festival goers were transported through a world of giant robots, evil clowns and big red monsters as Chemical Brothers closed day two of Latitude with a set of classic 90s floor-fillers.

Arriving on stage to an eerie reworking of The Beatles' 'Tomorrow Never Knows', the song's "turn off your mind, relax and float downstream" lyrics perfectly summed up the high octane rabbit hole revellers were set to be thrown down.  

Festival goers watch The Chemical Brothers headline the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham

Festival goers watch The Chemical Brothers headline the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk. Picture date: Saturday July 24, 2021. - Credit: PA

Pink smoke covered the crowd, which threw their glowsticks to the air as the pair burst into opener 'Hey Girl Hey Boy', with androgynous figures miming along behind them and firing lasers across Henham Park.

The track set the tone for an immaculate exhibition of some of the most recognisable dance anthems in the world, backed up by the most impressive visual display you're ever likely to see.

On 'Free Yourself' giant figures behind the duo struggled to release themselves from boxes on their heads, climaxing with a human head entangled in string.

Tom Rowlands of The Chemical Brothers as they headline the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Hen

Tom Rowlands of The Chemical Brothers as they headline the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk. Picture date: Saturday July 24, 2021. - Credit: PA


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For 'Eve Of Destruction', astronauts, aliens and robots invaded the stage, while an evil clown appeared bellowing "hello my children" before 'Out Of Control'.

At times it was hard to believe the characters behind the duo were not actually there, especially the two red monsters who danced behind the pair to the classic 'Star Guitar'.

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While it was a stunning display (enhanced when what was a sunny day gives way to thunder and lightning), it certainly took attention away from the music and often overshadowed it.

The Chemical Brothers headline the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, Suf

The Chemical Brothers headline the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk. Picture date: Saturday July 24, 2021. - Credit: PA

That's not to say it was a poor performance, far from it, with big guns such as the emphatic 'Galvanize' and the thunderous 'Block Rockin' Beats' sending the crowd into delirium.

Away from the hits, the wild techno spasms and demented sampled yells of "I'm mad, and I ain't gonna take it no more" from 2019's 'Mah' stood out as a set highlight.

Festival goers watch The Chemical Brothers headline the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham

Festival goers watch The Chemical Brothers headline the Obelisk Arena at Latitude festival in Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk. Picture date: Saturday July 24, 2021. - Credit: PA

While well-known tunes were received with pandemonium across the park, there was a noticeable lull in the crowd when deeper cuts were played, with a combination of lesser-known songs and rain sending some into the shelter of the BBC Sounds tent for a taste of Sleaford Mods.

Those who did stay were left pulverised by a sensory overload of throbbing electronic beats and dream-like visuals.



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