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Chemical Brothers @ Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC
by Lust-E: 09-21-2007

Somehow this summer the stars aligned, the heavens collided, the schedules panned, global warming intensified, the Indian summer remained, and NYC & The Tri-State Area was rewarded with an incredible lineup of DJ's and Bands, festivals and concerts to choose from every week and weekend. A glorious thing to behold, however there are some obvious drawbacks to such a wealth of entertainment choices and they are most closely examined in September, the ceremonial and literal end to this magical summer music mystery tour.

Those drawbacks are money, energy, and serotonin. All of which had been severely depleted after the summer of boat parties, Sasha and Three just about everywhere, the Virgin Festival, Paul Van Dyk, Daft Punk, Underworld, etc... Amidst all this musical insanity, the Chemical Brothers resurfaced with a stellar new album 'We Are The Night' after the mostly disappointing 'Push The Button' and a too long US touring hiatus. This factored in with the above drawbacks put many of us on the proverbial fence about going and justly so.

But as the date approached, like many big shows I’d do an iPod binge of their cd's over the course of the week and try to make the right decision. And during this binge, I realized how much their music moved me, surprised me, rocked me, it was ear candy. And I remembered how amazing they were years ago at Hammerstein Ballroom when they had only released two records at the time, but still blew the crowd away with relentless anthemic beats, builds and explosions, deck of card and castle visuals that accompanied the unforgettable closing with 'The Private Psychedelic Reel' and all the other 'Block Rockin Beats'. And I decided to go. Fuck it, they are gonna rock the house! Why miss it.

After a week of hunting for deals on Craigslist, I found the proper ticket, then made arrangements to meet with a crew of friends at a local watering hole and we made our way to Hammerstein Ballroom on Friday night for round 1. We arrived to the Rub DJ's from Brooklyn doing their rock/rap/electro/funk mashups to a packed crowd. At this juncture they were dropping Drum N Bass, elating the girls in our group. Behind Alla, we all made our way up to the very front of the general admission floor area. Soon enough the Brothers came on and proceeded to rock the packed crowd into everlovin' electronic oblivion. From the intro title track of the new album 'We Are The Night' into a full on assault of Galvanize, Do It Again (with scary clown visuals), Hey Boy Hey Girl, Out of Control. Peak level builds and explosions throughout the 1st half of the show with visual screens and lasers shooting throughout the ballroom. It was intense!

The 2nd half of the show was more musical as they played more melodic twinged hits such as Surface To Air, Star Guitar, Burst Generator, and the amazing Saturate off their new album. Mostly i chilled in the back to give my mind and feet a much deserved rest. The encore included their 1st track ever Leave Home with the refrain "The Brothers Gonna Work It Out' over a acid rave bass line and they closed with the seminal psychedelic jam of their career 'The Sunshine Underground' with its circus of bells and tribal drums building into an electronic explosion of beats and bells which is almost trademark to their sound and was certainly a fitting end to their crowd of sweaty, screaming, cheering fans. Left in search of a diner and smiling broadly after such an amazing show.

Reviewed by Greg Lustberg

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