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Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Leftfield - ToO LoUd!!!

Leftfield01 Leftfield were a duo of electronica artists and record producers, Paul Daley (formerly of A Man Called Adam and the Brand New Heavies) and Neil Barnes, formed in 1989 in London, England. The name Leftfield was originally used simply by Neil Barnes for the first single Not Forgotten but after this Paul Daley was involved firstly in remixing songs and then in the creation of following music. They pioneers in the fields of intelligent dance music and progressive house, being the first to fuse house music with dub and reggae [Release the Pressure (1995)]. They are well-known to the mainstream UK audience for their track "Phat Planet", which soundtracked the "Surfers" TV advertisement for Guinness, ranked number one in Channel 4's Top 100 Adverts list in 2000. "Phat Planet" was a song used in the TV series Beast Machines and the video game f1 2000. In addition their song "Release the Pressure" was used on adverts for the O2 mobile phone network at its launch and "A Final Hit" was featured on the Trainspotting soundtrack. They also released a series of singles and two acclaimed albums before breaking up in 2002 to focus on solo projects
Leftfield01At the very first Leftfield gig, in Amsterdam, the Dutch police were close to arresting the sound-man due to the sound system reaching illegal volumes. At the next concert, in Belgium, thirty people were given refunds after complaining that the sound level was too high, leading to a newspaper headline reading "Leftfield Too Loud". In June 1996, while the group was playing at Brixton Academy, the sound system caused dust and plaster to fall from the roof; subsequently, the group was banned from ever returning to the venue.
Leftfield headlined Homelands in 2000 playing the Home Arena . It was packed with more people still trying to get in, and the crowd were loud - cheering, screaming and blowing air horns, but not as loud as Leftfield themselves who had always promised the volume would be up. Leftfield03They worked the crowd, building us up with thumping sounds and then spent time sending deep deep vibrations through the arena - 'feel it' we were told repeatedly and he massaged his belly as if the sound would feed us. The ground reverberated beneath us as it got louder still and we were told to 'Let the music take control'. The track to do this was the pounding Afrika Shox from the latest album Rhythm and Stealth.
The lighting throughout was red and purple with strobe effects all around and at chosen moments a single white light fanned out from behind them reaching up into the arena. Song of Life from the first album was the last track which moves from soothing vocals to thumping rhythm and back again and as it finished the lights were turned on the crowd and they screamed for more. Their reward was of course Phat Planet (from that ad) with the running horses video shown on the screens.
It had energy, it rocked!

Leftfield - Live in Homeland 2000

Few weeks later, at Glastonbury and unlike the Chemical Brothers who played the night before, Leftfield did not go straight in with a major track . Leftfield04They began with a gentle mystic sound and there was great anticipation as they built up slowly, very slowly bringing in that deep thumping base. When the crowd did start moshing they warned us ' We'll take you higher, but first lower still' and came in with 'Chant of a Poor Man', but not just a copy of the album - this had a different angle and was played specially for us. Then everyone reacted when they heard 'Song For Life' and 'Storm 3000' from the first album, Leftism, which are mixed about and joined seamlessly together, the music flowed beautifully.
Then they announced 'Right, now this is the higher' and 'Inspection (Check One)' begins to huge roars from the crowd. However, everyone is expecting loud and unfortunately this didn't come off on the outside Other Stage as well as it does inside an arena. Inside you get the vibration through the floor and can feel it through your body but at Glastonbury the volume just isn't there and you're standing on solid earth. MC Cheshire Cat pleads for the sound to be turned up but it doesn't happen which I'm sure Leftfield will be disappointed about. The deep sounds of 'Afika Shox' belt out and the crowd is stomping though.
They finish their set with, of course, 'Phat Planet' and some timely fireworks appear in the sky behind the stage. Overall, a good performance with some unusual twists to the music which always makes a gig special, but Leftfield need that volume and Glastonbury wouldn't let them have it.

Leftfield - live at  Glastonbury 2000


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