Daft Punk's first gig on British soil in eight years has been delayed by 45 minutes. However, if anything, it's heightened the anticipation that's built over a sizzling summer afternoon at weekend dance music festival, Global Gathering.
Come midnight, the stage of the steamy Godskitchen Arena reveals a 20-foot-high pyramid, flanked by matrices of small triangles flashing in intricate sequences; it's retro-gaming heaven.
Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel De Homem-Christo, aka Daft Punk, are stationed two-thirds of the way from the pyramid's apex, in trademark gold and purple robot helmets, gloves and all-in-one racing driver suits. They're visible from the waist up and no part of their skin is exposed, confirming the lack of interaction (singing, playing an instrument, talking, a wave or smile) with the audience.
So it's apt that the opening track is "Robot Rock", with its filtered, driving guitars and vocodered chorus. The backdrop switches to an LED display, flashing with the words Buy It, Use it, Upgrade It... visually representing the intro to "Technologic". The audience erupts, but that's more down to Busta Rhymes sampling the intro on current single, "Touch It", rather than its status as a Daft Punk classic.
The LED switches to strip-lighting synchronised with the pounding beats of "Technologic", and it seems that Daft Punk are Kraftwerk's heirs apparent.
Daft Punk jump from the new to the old with "Around The World", as the charged audience sings the chorus wrapped in a blanket of feelgood familiarity. The tolling of bells signals a switch to breakthrough LP, Discovery, with the swinging guitar funk of "Aerodynamic" swelling into their glorious, purest pop moment, "One More Time", followed by the sinister techno of "Prime Time of Your Life".
On the one hand the visual stimulation is so mesmerising that the music becomes secondary, and on the other it's like watching Sydney's New Year's Eve fireworks... for 90 minutes. Sometimes less is more.
The shuffling house-meets-hip-hop of "Da Funk" edges us closer to the end and Daft Punk wrap up with the guitar-led electro of "Human After All".
Daft Punk are the live embodiment of the DJ-led, dance music revolution of the 1990s: they're two distant - removed and elevated - and faceless entertainers manipulating technology and a dancefloor. Ultimately anyone could be behind the masks and despite the breathtaking show (not performance), it feels like the robots have won.Reuse content