with Primal Scream, Liam Howlett, ADF, Ian Brown, James Lavelle etc
cool party or dissappointing DJ set?
London, Alexandra Palace, 31st December 2000
pictures by Spencer*
It was supposed to be the party of the year: Resolution at Alexandra Palace featuring live performances by Primal Scream, Asian Dub Foundation and Ian Brown, plus DJ sets by James Lavelle, Jon Carter and, you guessed it, Liam Howlett, also refferrred to a 'Liam Prodigy'. There was no way I was going to miss this event, so I even interrupted my snowboarding holiday in Switzerland to go back for 2 days to London just for Resolution. So would my high expectations of this party and in particular Liam's DJ set get fulfilled?
It's 9 pm on New Years Eve and we finally find the right entrance to get into Alexandra Palace, after walking up the hill all the way from Wood Green and walking around the building like 4 times in search of the entry for the press. Yes, I had got myself a photopass for the event, but, at the entrance I am told that as only artist there will be 'no photos' for Liam Howlett. Umm, ok then. I also get a list with the times, Liam will be on from 11.30-0.30, just before Primal Scream. This also means he will be on at midnight, at the start of the new year. We wonder what will he play at this point? Any special surprise at the stroke of midnight?
As we get into Alexandra Palace is still pretty empty and James Lavelle is just Djing in the main room. We pay a short visit to the other 2 rooms, but they are so empty and cold that we don't stay long. The only DJ worth seeing in Room 2 would probably be Jon Carter, but unfortunately he is on at the same time as Liam ...
After James Lavelle, Ian Brown comes on stage. At the front there is many Japanese people cheering to his set, but I am really not a big fan of him. Booooring, I need another drink!
After Ian Brown has finished we go a bit to the front now, because after the 45 minute set of this guy called 'Curley', Liam will be on next! Curley's set is 'ok'...nothing really special. We're just waiting now. I had made a few flyers with the URL of my web site to give to people in case I bump into some Prodigy fans. So I ask some of the people around me: "sorry, are you here to see Liam Howlett of The Prodigy?", "no, I'm here to see Primal Scream", "Nah, Asian Dub Foundation", "Liam who?". I'll get rid of some of the fliers anyway.
At 11.15pm suddenly Keith Flint is spotted at the back of the stage, and also Liam Howlett appears for the first time. The venue has become a bit more crowded now, and I also spot a few familiar faces that I've met at DJ sets before.
At 11.30pm Liam starts his set with Rage Against the Machine's 'War within a breath', while his star studded following (half of All Saints, Donna Air, Keith Flint, Leeroy Thornhill etc) take place on the side of the stage.
Next he plays a track I don't know, but very danceable with cool beats. Some people are starting to get into it, but there's just a bit too many Primal Scream fans pushing to the front. Fading into this unknown track are now parts from Meat Beat Manifesto's 'Radio Babylon'. This is my 10th DJ set of Liam and I'm pretty sure he played this track at each of them. Radio Babylon is followed by a really cool rock track, which I unfortunately don't know the name of either.
unknown track then before Liam continues with Public
Enemy's 'Welcome to the Terrordrome', another regular of his
DJ sets. The atmosphere in Ally Pally is ok, but not too overexcited,
it's a bit more crowded now and most people seem to be having a good
time as the clock goes towards midnight. Another regular of Liam's
DJ sets follows: 'Alarmclock' by Westbam.
While he continues his set with 'Punk Shock'
by Rasmus we realise that it soon is going to be midnight.
A digital clock on the projectors next to the stage then starts to
count the seconds backwards from 50 to 1. The audience is counting
loud as the clock goes: "10, 9, 8, 7,
6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!!!!!!!"
track on then is the Rainforest mix of Moby's
'Go' and this track is one of the only highlights of this set
that actually gets a lot of people moving, even some of the die-hard
Primal Scream fans around us. My own personal highlight of the evening
follows next though, Liam plays Cut La Roc's
'Freeze'. (this track has been my own little 'snowboarding
anthemn' over the last 10 days, so of course I'm just more than happy
that he has added exactly THIS track as a new addition to his set).
It is the only new addition to his DJ set that I recognize. But that
was the highlights already then for this set and the rest that follows
now is more or less a déja-vu...
Next track played has also become quite regular at Liam's sets: Norega's 'Superthug'. This is followed by another familiar sounding track: Blackalicious 'Alphabet Aerobics' and as the DJ set comes to it's end he plays, as at The Rock 2 weeks ago, 'Chemical Beats' by Chemical Brothers and adds some hip hop style vocals in the end. During the last few bits of the set now Primal Scream already enter the stage and Mani is dancing around on stage to the last bits of Liam's set which is rather amusing to watch (see pic below). Spencer of the ProCON team also mentions to me that he thinks its time either Liam used some new records or cleaned his old one's, due to about 2 of his records he played were clearly skipping...
So, that was it then, Liam's NYE DJ set, leaving behind some of the Prodigy fans rather disappointed. Nothing really special and I know that I wasn't the only person who got a bit the feeling that Liam just didn't really care too much tonight and it seemed as if he just wanted to leave as soon as possible. After having seen 10 of Liam's DJ sets this one definitely wasn't my favourite one at all, if not the least favourite one. All in all Bug Jam '99, Homelands Ireland '99 and Fabric 99 still remain the highlights and none of the sets in 2000 came close to them at all. It really is high time for The Prodigy to come back.
But at Ally Pally the party continues now with the main act Primal Scream. As they start their set with 'Swastika Eyes' people keep pushing and we really can't be bothered to stay at the front anymore, although I really love the Primals. Instead I make finally use of my photo pass and enter the photo pit for the first 3 songs which is quite cool.*
After that my mate AnnBritt and me are a bit exhausted and decide to chill out a bit in the guest area. On the way there we just get a last view of Liam and his following leaving the building before we go to get a drink.
We later go back to see the last bit of Primal Scream and then wander around the venue for a bit again. At 3am Asian Dub Foundation are on, we watch a bit of them but then decide to leave. On the way to the cloakroom we walk past the guest bar again and as we hear the starting beats of 'Smack my Bitch Up' we just have to go in there again. Indeed, the 'DJ' decides to play the whole The Fat Of The Land album now and those last 40 minutes are almost the musical highlight of the evening for me...
*no pics by neko yet as I am at the moment somewhere in the Swiss mountains and there's no scanner or anything like that here (we got phonelines tho!). Many thanks to Spencer for his pictures. Some Primal Scream pics by neko will be added hopefully around 10th January.
against the Machine - War within a breath
copyright © 2000/2001 by neko, all rights reserved