Reviews

Live Review: Prodigy & Soft Play at Alexandra Palace

Two bands known for their fiercely energetic live shows put on a blinder at London's iconic Alexandra Palace.

It’s hard to deny that The Prodigy are survivors. Well into the 4th decade of their career, they’ve seen off all manner of trends, and nearly went under around the turn of the millennium after relations between the band members turned frosty.

Their fortunes recovered with 2009’s superb ‘Invaders Must Die’ album, but the tragic death of iconic frontman Keith Flint in 2019 was a terrible shock to band and fans alike, and prompted much doubt as to whether the Prodigy would (or even could) continue. However, they rallied, and a triumphant UK tour in 2022 showed that the demand – and more importantly, the love – for the legendary Prodigy live experience is still there.

Kent duo Soft Play clearly don’t care that the cavernous Alexandra Palace is only half full when they take the stage, and the duo seem to be on a (commendable) mission to piss off anyone whom they can’t convert to their cause. Is drummer Isaac trying to play his kit or destroy it? The likes of furious opener ‘Punk’s Dead’ and ‘Beauty Quest’ are an invigorating onslaught of pounding drums and barbed-wire punk rock guitars, and although they spend rather too long faffing around in (or on top of the crowd), it’s par for the course for a band that thrives on chaos as much as Soft Play do. 

Can the headliners still kill the old way? Any doubts as to their live potency are instantly blown away by the titanium-strength beats of ‘Breathe’, and then ‘Omen’ prompts not only an outbreak of mass bouncing, but probably also the loudest singalong of the night.

Less is more, they say, but not when it comes to a Prodigy gig. The live band set-up makes them sound especially fierce, the light show alone must sap at least half the local electricity grid, and the main man of the night – yep, the one and only Maxim Reality – sounds even more gloriously unhinged than on record.

It must be difficult for him without his spiky-haired partner in crime, but he wears this heavy crown well; stalking the stage and demanding more from all his ‘Prodigy warriors’, as he has from the day The Prodigy first stepped onstage.

Pretty much the entire evening would be the perfect soundtrack to a riot – and trust us, that’s a compliment. A furious ‘Get Your Fight On’ is a case in point, but ultimately, it’s ‘Their Law’ that proves the highlight of the evening. The lyrics are depressingly relevant nearly 30 years since it was released, but tonight, as we all roar “FUCK ‘EM AND THEIR LAW!” and that beast of a guitar riff kicks in, the mood is one of pure elation.

You wonder just how much longer The Prodigy can continue to deliver performances of this intensity, but if the 2020s turn out to be the twilight years of their career, they clearly won’t be going quietly into the night. And hey – nor would we want them to.

The Prodigy’s ‘Army of the Ants’ Tour continues through Europe until mid-December. Go to their website for ticket details. 

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