Pendulum, Wembley Arena
Wednesday 02 June 2010
The ambitious Australian quintet Pendulum have their sights set on becoming the biggest electronic act in the world. It must have been a blow to the kudos then when Neil Diamond beat the dance-rockers' second drum'n'bass-meets-metal album, In Silico, to the No 1 slot in 2008.
Now at Wembley, five days after the release of Immersion, Pendulum are flanked by a mammoth 20 subs each side. They've got the big guns out and no wonder. This time, they're facing an all-powerful nemesis that makes Diamond look like a tame squirrel – the Glee album.
Pendulum's live show sports some of the most sophisticated, computerised music technology in the world and the lads waste no time in showcasing it with the new track "Salt in the Wounds". It drops, and signature breakbeats, hyperactive robotic synths and pounding bass thump up the legs of the few who stand still long enough to feel it.
MC Verse mutters something about getting everyone dancing, but they're already swelling into the circle pits that belong at Download Festival, where Pendulum's set triumphed two years ago. They've been hailed as successors to The Prodigy since In Silico (tonight they pay homage with a "Voodoo People" remix), but newer fans still mosh to the infamous early drum'n'bass beats of "Fasten Your Seatbelt" and "Slam". And dancing or throwing punches, everyone's grinning.
The crowd makes the best of it, but the sound is too polished, almost clinical, to live up to the tracks' notoriously raucous potential on a packed dance floor.
And as for the Prodigy moniker? You wouldn't catch Keith or Maxim jabbering excuses about "loads of computers with loads of data" if their laptops went wrong. The cool cloaks are off and the geeks are exposed.
Despite being outshone by old-school, reggae-infused "Tarantula", audience reaction is still immense when Rob Swire cracks into the pop vocals of "Watercolour". Glee is in some serious trouble.
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