Gig of the Week: The Prodigy, Brixton Academy, London SW9


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The Independent Culture

While some bands mutate and others stagnate, cannier players sharpen their thrust to a point of supreme efficacy. Liam Howlett's Essex rave-punks are a case in point.

Dissed as cartoon ravers when "Charly" emerged in 1991, they went on to become the point at which dirty dance and panto-punk spectacle converged, with Howlett laying down ever more gnarly beats for MCs Keith Flint and Maxim to shout festival-rousing orders over.

When Howlett released an album without his frontmen in 2004, it was welcomed like a wet fart. Taking the lesson on the chin, he regrouped the old team for 2009's Invaders Must Die, a brash distillation of Prodigy basics that propelled them to their biggest tour ever.

Don't expect them to risk the pay-off for new direction at these comeback gigs, but do expect the mission statement outlined on "Warrior's Dance" to be dispatched with a pure, potent sense of purpose: "Come with me to the dancefloor/ You and me, 'cause that's what it's for."

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