The Chemical Brothers ventured to McCarren Park in Williamsburg the evening after their sold-out show at Hammerstein Ballroom. Although Underworld’s performance at Central Park two weeks prior had its nostalgic musical moments, The Chemical Brothers delivered a far superior show that wasn’t as rooted in the past.
Opening with “Galvanize” (featuring sampled vocals by Q-Tip), the Brothers embarked on a two-hour rollercoaster ride that was chock full of beats and breaks and nothing short of thrilling. Unlike Underworld’s set (which was plagued by too many lulls in their attempt to try out unknown new material), the Brothers programmed their performance like the tightest DJ set and kept keep the crowd in their grasp. Working behind a turret of machines as breathtaking, sometimes disturbing visuals floated behind them (the sinister clown was downright scary!), they weaved in and out of songs with aplomb and weren’t afraid to offer rousing new renditions of even their most popular songs. Aside from pumping a few fists in the air and gestures to the crowd, the Brothers—Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands—didn’t offer any meaningless crowd banter. They didn’t have to.
After the sexy “Do It Again” oozed out of their sound system, they segued into “All Rights Reserved” (featuring samples from Klaxons) and belched a truncated, housed up version of “Out of Control” (featuring vocal samples by New Order’s Bernard Sumner) that packed enough bass to make Danny Tenaglia grin. In the end, The Chemical Brothers outshined their fellow countrymen’s attempt and proved why they’re the best electronic band in the world.