London, 25th February 2000


The night at the Imperial College doesn't seem to be too impressing so far. We expected this to be a public gig, but it turned out to be an event only for students of this particular college! However, with some outdated student passes and pretending not to speak or understand English we managed to get in anyway.

In there are a few rooms with bars, full of students, one room with disco lights and a DJ who tries to be 'alternative' and plays 'Pretty Fly' and 'Tequila'. At the side of the room is a small stage and looking at the banner at the back of it gets me all excited: MANCHILD are going to play here later on tonight! Not that they are an established band or that I've ever seen them live, but the few tracks I had heard of them made me wonder if they really could keep that standard when playing live of what sounds so promising on the record.

At 11pm the DJ starts to play some well known Big Beat singles and a few of the students at this event actually start to dance now. It's obvious that none of them have ever heard of Manchild or are here to see this band, it all looks just like the typical schoolparty with a little stage for the schoolband.

About 30 minutes later there's about 60 studets in this room now and while still some Cypress Hill comes out of the speakers Manchild finally go on stage and start the set with what I have so far considered to be their best track: 'Rockin' the Place'. What I see and hear now blows me away from the first minute! It's hard to explain, but take the coolest beats of the Chemical Brothers, add a bit of 'Jilted era Prodigy', take a mad dancer like Keith Flint and teach him brekdancing, add drums, guitar, bass and a DJ, top this all with a cool MC; then take this bunch, put them on a stage and let all the energy explode, then you have Manchild live!

So far so good, I already knew Rockin' The Place was a great track, but what next? Was the highlight of the gig already over now? But no way, Manchild manage to keep the high they started with 'Rockin The Place' during the whole gig, and I realize now what a top band they are!  There's no flaws at all, not one minute without any cool beats and one song seems better than the other. It's all full of adrenaline and there's no way you could resist to dance now. The audience is moving, the whole band is moving and while the MC encourages everyone to jump, their dancer comes down and shows us what real breakdance is! I recognize 'Something in my System' being played, that cool breakbeat track feat. Sadat X which was recently released as whitelabel. Manchild will probably not come around comparisons with The Prodigy and I do not mean because they have the same management. But they definitely have the same sort of energy in their live shows as  Prodigy and in a way their sound seems to be a bit like what Prodigy played in '94, but from there taken into another direction and now creating something completely new and fresh!

Times flies and soon one hour is over, but we don't let them go yet. They come back and play another track but then this gig is over and leaves me behind almost speechless. They had managed to make this student party to one of my best nights out ever, so I can only imagine how they will blow away the roof if they get to play in a really cool club!

This, my dear readers, is what we would call 'the next big thing'!

Take your chance and go to see them live as long as they play those small venues ... you'll regret it bitterly otherwise! Check for tourdates on or also in neko's eventplaner.

You can find 2 soundfiles on their website, which in my opinion aren't really as good as Manchild really are ;) You can hear 'Rockin' the Place' played at Liam Howlett's DJ set at Homelands from minute 41-43 in the Real Audio file which you can download in my audio section.

by neko