Chemical Brothers @ WAMU Theater
Bringing the Big Beat 🧪
Published April 14, 2023
Tuesday, April 18th • 7:30 pm
Chemical Brothers (Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons) were the funkiest and most psychedelic proponents of the mid-’90s British sub-genre known as Big Beat, if not the most popular (that would be Fatboy Slim). You can hear the Chem Bros simultaneously peaking in and transcending this style on their first two classic albums, Exit Planet Dust and Dig Your Own Hole. The rough-and-tumble electro-funk joint “Block Rockin’ Beats” from the latter 1997 LP won a Grammy for Best Rock Instrumental Performance, making Tom and Ed stars in America when major labels and the press were hyping “electronica” as The Next Big Thing™. Though their seven successive studio albums have moments of spine-tingling excitement, Chemical Brothers’ music has gotten slicker and more laden with conventional dance-pop vocals and rap and rock cameos (e.g., Oasis’ Noel Gallagher, ATCQ’s Q-Tip, Mazzy Star’s Hope Sandoval). The beats are still big af, though, and their years of working the global festival circuit have honed their lysergic sound and dynamics to the point where they can nonchalantly wow massive crowds. WAMU is a notoriously characterless hangar, but trust Chem Bros to convert it into a hive of euphoric vibes and puddles of sweat.
📸: Courtesy Chemical Brothers