The Prodigy 

SEC Centre, Glasgow November 2018

This has been edited following the tragic news that Keith Flint has died. The 49-year-old passed away at his home in Essex. 

*****

It has been 28 years since keyboardist, songwriter and band mastermind Liam Howlett joined up with longstanding partners MC Maxim and Keith Flint and emerged from the underground rave scene.

READ MORE: Prodigy frontman Keith Flint found dead at his Essex home 

Their early cartoony fairground anthems on debut album Experience were initially a guilty pleasure among a crowd into dirty indie and alternative.

Any feelings of personal embarrassment would be shattered with 1997's testosterone-fuelled Fat Of The Land, with the worldwide hit Firestarter that merged the attitude of punk with huge beats and dance sensibilities and the emergence of a Johnny Rotten-esque 'front man' in Keith Flint.

The follow up Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned was seven years in the making and Howlett recorded the album mostly by himself.  With barely a contribution from Maxim and Flint, while enlisting a number of guest vocalists,  it was poorly received by the critics,  was the band's lowest seller and they were dropped from their record label.  

In 2018, No Tourists draws parallels with Always Outnumbered with Howlett again centre stage and Flint and Maxim reduced to limited interjections.

On the day their seventh album is released, they hit Glasgow as up for it as ever, tearing through a relentless and rampant set of 19 depth charge tunes from a floor-shuddering Breathe to a floorquaking Take Me To The Hospital.

HeraldScotland:

Anyone who had heard No Tourists might worry that with barely a contribution from rrabble-rousersMaxim and Flint that they may be in the background.

Those fears are nullified as they burst through their most ccrowd-pleasingsongs alongside a mere smattering of their newest songs with Flint, still as Firestarter as ever, and "are you with me Glasgow" Maxim whipping the mad 'taps aff' moshers into a deeper frenzy. Howlett, in the meantime quietly creates the sonic synth-punk soundscape leaving his partners to it.

Howlett says that the new LP has a “definite urgency and aggression about it,” and a “certain old school feel. People will hear the early Prodigy sounds coming back a bit. But also without being retro, it feels fresh.”

There is, in fact, much on the album that sounds like they have lifted wholesale from the past, turning their sampling efforts to their very own material.

The seductive Light Up the Sky seems to sample noise effects from the start of Breathe, incorporate the drive of Poison and there are clear parallels in one synth break to Voodoo People.

HeraldScotland:

Live it comes after Breathe and the mix is potent keeping the energy incredibly high.

On We Live Forever you almost expect a burst of "we'll take your brain to another dimension" from their crackers early rave outing Out of Space, omitted from their Glasgow set list. Closer examination shows that actually, both tunes borrowed Kool Keith vocals from exactly the same source - Ultramagnetics' 1988 song Critical Breakdown.

Not that any of this borrowing actually matters in the context of a show where it all makes sense.

There is no let up from start to finish, the drops are as predictable as they are glorious, new tunes sound like old songs, but this is like AC/DC with synths and an eclectic cross-generational crowd are mad for this dance music with attitude.

It is one heck of a party, an explosion of an album launch and an impromptu rave in the nearby tube bridge with folk going wild for the show omission, Out of Space made for the most memorable of unofficial impromptu after shows.

The show, like the album, is the equivalent of a fifth holiday return to the same hotel you always love - overfamiliar, unsurprising but totally magical. The Prodigy remain one of the most vibrant exciting live bands around.