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The Chemical Brothers give fans at Shrine Expo Hall the electronic show they desperately need in 2019

The Chemical BrothersBy Josh Herwitt //

The Chemical Brothers //
Shrine Expo Hall – Los Angeles
May 15th, 2019 //

When former childhood classmates Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons burst onto the scene in the mid-to-late 90’s as The Chemical Brothers, electronic music for most was still a relatively new phenomenon — even in their home country of England.

Sure, some of the UK duo’s counterparts such as The Prodigy and Fatboy Slim were attracting more mainstream appeal around the same time, but that commercial success at the height of the big beat movement doesn’t hold a candle to what many of the biggest EDM stars today are amassing in the social media age. Just look at what Calvin Harris, Diplo, Skrillex, Zedd or The Chainsmokers are bringing home if you don’t believe me (hint: it’s well over eight figures). Of course, those Las Vegas hotel residencies sure do help their cash flow.

The Chemical Brothers, nevertheless, have managed to maintain a loyal following for three decades now and that was evident by the sold-out crowd that welcomed them to the Shrine Expo Hall last Wednesday for the first of two dates in LA. It’s not often that an artist or band books two different venues in the same city while on tour, but that’s exactly what Rowlands and Simons did with their other LA show taking place up the road at the Greek Theatre only one day later. That said, the Shrine Expo Hall’s open floor plan proved to be perfectly suited for the pair’s dance-ready tracks.

The Chemical Brothers

Leading off with “Go” from their 2015 LP Born in the Echoes, The Chemical Brothers delivered a 24-song set that covered all nine studio albums, including their newest effort No Geography that dropped in April. They seamlessly transitioned from one banger to the next, keeping our spirits high and leaving us not a minute to rest our feet. The onstage production, meanwhile, was next level. With an arsenal full of lights and lasers as well as a massive projection screen mounted behind them, Rowlands and Simons created a scintillating audio-visual experience to remember and one of the best we’ve witnessed in a while.

At a time when electronic music has become relatively predictable and almost formulaic, The Chemical Brothers are still experimenting with new sounds and breathing some fresh air into their live sets. Case in point on this night was a cover of New Order’s 1982 single “Temptation” and a rendition of Come with Us cut “Star Guitar” that wrapped up with a snippet of “Gravity Drops” from No Geography. But the Brothers saved what we all had been anticipating for last, uncorking “Block Rockin’ Beats” off 1997’s Dig Your Own Hole before their encore break.

When they returned, Rowlands and Simons gave us a few more before waving goodbye — not that we needed anymore to feel satisfied. Because if this was what an electronic show in 2019 is supposed to feel like, then we can safely say … mission accomplished, boys.

Setlist:
Go
Free Yourself
Chemical Beats (with vocal sample from “Sometimes I Feel So Deserted”)
MAH
EML Ritual
Swoon
Temptation (New Order cover)
Star Guitar (with “Gravity Drops” outro)
Got to Keep On
Hey Boy Hey Girl
Eve of Destruction
Saturate
Elektrobank
No Geography
Escape Velocity
Hoops / Get Up on It Like This
Under the Influence / Dig Your Own Hole
Wide Open
Galvanize
Leave Home / C-H-E-M-I-C-A-L / Song to the Siren
Block Rockin’ Beats

Encore:
Got Glint?
Catch Me I’m Falling (with “Hold Tight London” intro)
The Private Psychedelic Reel

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