When is a rock concert not a rock concert? Well, for one, when it’s a Chemical Brothers show.
The Manchester, England, post-techno duo (who aren’t really brothers) gathered a full house at the echo chamber that is the Palladium — their first L.A. gig since May — and for nearly two hours dazzled the young crowd with an abundance of snappy samples, wild lights and crazy, nonstop beats, with nary a traditional rock instrument in sight.
What the two acclaimed deejays — their 1994 appearances at London’s Heavenly Social are now legendary — actually contributed to the show was often limited to the pushing of buttons and the twisting of knobs, occasionally punctuated by hand clapping and arms thrown in the air. But what the more than 3 ,000 on the dance floor got from those efforts was exactly what they came for: fantastic sensory overload.
As the slogan “Brother’s Gonna Work It Out” flashed on a giant video screen behind an expansive set-up of mixers, samplers, sequencers and distortion pedals , the Brothers casually took the stage and slowly started a dance wave that culminated about 35 minutes later in a brilliant segue of “Elektrobank” and “Piku” that blew away the versions found on their current platinum-certified “Dig Your Own Hole” (Astralwerks) album.
The evening’s best-known songs — this summer’s single “Block Rockin’ Beats” and last year’s hit “Setting Sun” — were both fattened by long, throbbing intros that would ultimately and subtly drift intro the song’s main groove. Oasis singer Liam Gallagher’s sampled vocals during the latter were twisted and manipulated into strange new shapes while the delirious fans danced and clapped.