Relentless rhythms and punk fury, the Prodigy set Milan on fire

The British band in Italy for two dates. At the 1.5-hour Alcatraz show, tribute to Keith Flint with ‘Firestarter’

A show of pure adrenaline and relentless rhythms. The revived Prodigy return to the Alcatraz stage in Milan after a long break due to Covid but above all to the tragic and sudden disappearance of the charismatic Keith Flint, voice and frontman of the band. After just a handful of dates in the United Kingdom in 2022, their homeland, in historic and intimate venues such as the Brixton Academy in London, where they recorded three consecutive sold outs, they arrive directly in Italy for two dates, testifying to the love that the band feeds for our country. In Milan, the band stages an explosive show as per tradition, exalting fans of all ages (many white heads in the audience but also the very young) with an experience that reminds everyone (if needed) why they are considered the standard bearers of the rawest and most uncompromising electronic music.

Active since 1990, the year in which Liam Howlett, composer, DJ and musical mind of the band, met Keith Flint (first dancer then voice) and Leeroy Thornhill (dancer) at a rave party, to whom he added soon after through a mutual friend the MC Maxim, their idea was to create a band of DJs-musicians-performers perfect for this kind of party. Initially the standard-bearers of the rave movement and then increasingly becoming an entity in their own right with their signature mix of techno, breakbeats and punk fury (complete with live guitar and drums in their lives), the Prodigy still demonstrate their ability to ignite the crowd and create an atmosphere of unmatched intensity.

As the lights dim at the height of anticipation, they appear on stage with a thunderous roar: “Where are our people? We are back, Italy”. The iconic hit ‘Breathe’ is off to a flying start and the band wastes no time setting the tone for the evening. This is followed by the powerful ‘Omen’, now a classic for the British band followed by ‘Wild frontiers’ and ‘Light up the sky’, extracted from the latest studio work ‘No Tourists’ of 2018. The Prodigy’s ability to combine their sound of the beginnings, with an unmistakably dance imprint with the most recent experiments, demonstrates their artistic growth and their unshakeable relevance in the panorama of alternative electronic music.

The sequence of classics ‘Climbatize’, ‘Everybody in the place’ and ‘Voodoo people’ from their first three albums engages the audience by evoking a feeling of nostalgia while fueling the present moment, leading up to what is the most exciting moment of the evening and perhaps the pinnacle of the entire live-set: the tribute version of the famous ‘Firestarter’, dedicated to the memory of Keith Flint, and represented here with his iconic silhouette drawn by the lasers that cut through the smoke coming from the stage. Maxim, standing stage side, hands behind his back, ideally leaves the stage once again to Keith, as he has always been for 25 years now on this piece.

After the violent ‘Roadblox’ follows another sequence of classics from the first productions: ‘No Good’, ‘Their Law’, and ‘Get your fight on’, and is a crescendo of football chants from the audience in unison with Maxim , who in this context lives up to his role as MC or indeed ‘Master of Ceremonies’ as never before. The set closes with the controversial ‘Smack my bitch up’ and the audience is a delirium of bodies jumping and colliding in a way that many metal bands can only dream of.

The group greets and takes their leave but everyone knows that he will be back for an encore and in fact here he comes back with a new roar, before inserting a breathtaking sequence: ‘Take me to the Hospital’ followed by the self-explanatory ‘Invaders must die’. As per tradition, it closes one of the songs that put them on the map, ‘Out of Space’ from their first album ‘Experience’ from 1992, immediately going platinum in the UK to ride the wave of the rave culture of those years. It’s a moment and the enthralling mix of reggae alternating with techno accelerations takes the transgenerational audience present tonight at Alcatraz immediately back in time.

The concert is a perfect spiritual testament of the band, which has always been considered one of the most exciting live experiences of the entire alternative panorama for the past thirty years. Despite the time passed and the scars (some indelible) they carry with them, they are still in front of the group, and this evening will certainly remain in the memory of the lucky ones who had the opportunity to see live the unstoppable force that are the Prodigy. (by Federica Mochi).