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Homelands, Edinburgh, 4th September 99 with Liam Howlett, The Chemical Brothers and many many more!

Liam Howlett DJing in Edinburgh?  Great! I have to be there!

Plus also The Chemical Brothers, Breakbeat Era and many other DJ's will be there? No question, it would be worth going, and here's my review:

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After about 7 hours in train and shuttlebus, I finally arived at about 5pm at the 'Royal Highland Exhibition Grounds' nr Edinburgh where the Scottish Homelands festival had already started at 1pm. It didnt look that crowded and with 'only' 20'000 people (compared to homelands in Winchester with 40'000) it wasnt that big. At 6pm I had a quick look into the 'home' arena where 'Liam Prodigy' would be on one hour later, but it looked pretty empty. Having a look into the 'Tunnel & Renaissance Arena' I realized where everybody was: dancing and sweating in here to Paul Oakenford. I soon had to leave, otherwise I would have risked a collapse before Liam had even started his set.

Liam was supposed to be on from 7 -8.30pm in the 'home' arena. At about 6.45pm 'All seeing 1', the band before him had finished and everybody got ready. The tent was quite full, but there still could have been more people. I had a photopass for the whole festival, but exactly for Liam noone was allowed to take pictures from the photopit, too bad. So I went from the side of the pit back into the audience and had on my way a short talk with Keith Flint, who was once again also there. He must have thought I'm pretty nuts and totally obsessed, now turning up in Edinburgh after last week in Sofia, but nevermind...  I finally ended up somewhere in the middle almost in the front, where I also spotted Pete from EN.

Liam was already getting ready behind his decks, people were getting excited and clapping their hands. Liam now had a discussion with the technician, then finally started to play something and stopped again. Now 3 technicians were running around, while Liam showed them what was wrong. He tried to start again and put on Medicines 'I'm sick' (DCV1-track) which kept repeating now forever ....... People started to dance a bit, but were mostly confused looking on stage what was wrong. Liam, obviously not really happy with the situation, showed the technicians they had to exchange the mixing desk. There seemed to be something wrong, because someone had tried to install a CD player before.

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Now the music stopped completely and Liam just walked away. I guess I wasnt the only person who was already scared he wouldnt come back at all, but he stayed at the side of the stage. Some girlies in front of me kept waving at him and screaming and were totally happy when he finally did them the favour and waved back. Suddenly he saw something and crossed the stage and 2 seconds later we saw him standing there talking to Chemical Brother Tom and the girlies in front of me started to scream even more. Meanwhile the technicians were fixing the mixer and at about 7.30 pm they were finally finished.

Liam now came back, with even bigger applause than in the beginning. Although the mixer seemed to be fixed now, the 2 turntables were still obviously very far away from each other, which limited him a lot in the effects to use. We could see/hear that he was trying to make the best of it. Many other musicians who are as 'big' as Liam Howlett probably wouldnt really have bothered even to go on with such an equipment and technical problems, but he definitely did. I obviously cant name a full setlist, but he played a variety of HipHop- and dance tunes, many which we had already heard at Bug Jam. And a lot of tunes which I didnt know at all, to be honest. More than once he used the effect of suddenly producing a silence, letting people clap and then coming again with the music with even more power. Unlike at all the previous 3 DJsets there was no Chemical Brothers at all this time, probabaly because they would be on at the same stage 1 hour after he had finished :-). The athmosphere in the crowd was a bit weird. Many people were still confused from the beginning, the girlies in front kept pointing and screaming at Keith who wasn't very hard to recognize at the side of the stage, for once not wearing a baseballcap so everyone could spot him easily with his 2 mohawks. Liam wasnt really on a stage, he was pretty close to the crowd. Also the time he played (7pm)  made him more look like a 'gap-filler' than one of the headliners or main acts, as advertised.

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He played Meat Beat Manifesto's 'Radio Babylon' (DCV1-track), but surprised us with the  effect of suddenly slowing it down. All in all in my opinion the same tune was sometimes played far too long, which made the whole thing a bit boring from time to time. In the second half it got much better than in the beginning, but as soon as it started to become good, it was 8.30pm and he had to finish.   Pete Tong, who was next, came in and said hi to Liam. Liam who was just playing 'Bug Powder Dust' by Bomb the Bass (faster than on DCV1)  now started the last track: 'Pretty Vacant' by the Sex Pistols! Like at Bug Jam, where he had also played it, this was the absolute highlight of his set!

All in all this was probably my least favourite DJ Set of Liam. I dont say it wasnt good at all, cause there were brilliant parts in it, but I know Liam can do better if he has got the right equipment; as seen in Dublin, at Gatecrasher and Bug Jam! Well, lets hope he'll be more lucky at homelands Ireland 25th September! (and lets hope he decides to start DJing in clubs in London ;-))

Now Pete Tong started his set in the 'home- arena' and since I didnt really need to see him, I had a look around again. I noticed that the whole festival was much more crowded now, and soon after 9pm I went back to the 'home' arena where The Chemical Brothers would start soon. The tent was full now!

The Chemical Brothers came on stage with huge applause and started with 'Hey Boy, Hey Girl', their set consisted of old and new tracks, for example 'Music Response' from their newest album surrender but also 'Block Rockin Beats'  just to name a few of the first ones. While everyone kept jumping to the Chems, I left again around 10.30pm to watched the start of Breakbeat Era in Arena 3. They started with an instrumental track and then played my favourite Breakbeat Era track: Rancid. After a while I left again and went back to the Chems, and although I used to find them pretty boring live, I have to admit that this set was brilliant and full of energy! Carl Cox, who had already been watching from the side of the stage, now took over at 11pm. I wanted to leave again, and on my way out  bumped into Liam, who told me he was very dissapointed about his set, cause the turntables had been too far away from eachother, "but they were good" he said, pointing at the stage where The Chemical Brothers just had finished.

Then I spent the rest of the night walking from tent to tent, listening to various DJ's and acts such as Hybrid, Sasha, Carl Cox, Roni Size etc, falling asleep sometimes and at 7am finally leaving by train towards London.

Dont miss Liam Howlett's next DJ date at Homelands in Ireland   25th September 99! Except Liam also Underworld will be there! If you cant make it there, make sure you check out neko's homepage for a review!

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