Pendulum - Live at Brixton Academy
Mon 3rd Aug, 2009 Music Reviews 2838 viewsin
I promised myself that if I ever got to review Pendulum’s In Silico in any way, I’d do my best to avoid comparison to their brilliant debut Hold Your Colour; because naturally, most sequel albums are unfairly stacked up alongside their predecessors. However, I was given a mix of their new material and old material with their recorded set in the UK last year with the album Live at Brixton Academy.
The CD/DVD opens to the killer Showdown, aided heavily by Ben “The Verse” Mount, which maintains a dominant presence throughout the set. Moving into their collaboration with the Freestylers on Fasten Your Seatbelts, pushing the boundaries with some live drums over the original really brings out a lovely sounding freshness from the great original, especially the breakdown. All of the footage is rush-cut together to help aid along with the supreme aggressiveness of some of their tunes. Watching the crowd groove and the band maintain their mighty cool with their track The Other Side, and the sea of baby blue lights supporting the huge sounding Tarantula and the finale of chunky drums of The Tempest makes me literally want to be in the middle of the crowd to feel the earth shake to the intro and the break into the lead. However, that feeling doesn’t stay around for long.
Most of the set consists of epilepsy inducing lights, and the band maintains a cool edge for most of the DVD, which is a hit and miss for me. On one hand I like seeing the focus on getting everything right and throwing it all down perfectly, but on the other hand I kind of expected a really warped craziness. It’s just the usual, lead guitar battling with the drums and Mount’s vocals help along the way but also stand as an alienating presence. As he drops the “Yeah, yeah” and “Hands up, Brixton”, it doesn’t feel particularly necessary when he’s screaming over some of the good stuff. However, throughout the footage, he handles himself extremely well, it’s just his vocals can be annoying. I think it’s great to see the crowd reactions to everything with sweeping cameras over the crowds and cameras peeping out to survey the sweat leaping onto the stage, but it isn’t exactly enthralling cinema.
Unfortunately, the DVD extras don’t help push the release any further. With a video blog from fans that delivers some muttering about how great the band is; some viral ads and some camera phone clips of the band. We’ve got the usual affair of pictures of the band over the top of the great track Visions which seems almost like a finale, as it’s cut together quite well. But the DVD certainly comes across as a bit halfhearted, with the interactive mode showing the band standing around for a few minutes and the sound check sounding kind of horrible.
Don’t get me wrong, In Silico is an album that I enjoyed, but hearing and watching this live CD/DVD is no different to listening to the actual album, I personally prefer to listen to my material without screaming nutters and fisticuffing twats hampering the material for me. I find it brilliant that Pendulum can replicate their In Silico sound superbly. But with a lot of live tunes I’ve heard and watched on releases such as this, with acts like The Prodigy and Groove Armada, there’s always something a bit different about their approaches to their live sets, and there’s an energy that I can place throughout the entirety of the set. But with Brixton, I only get that feeling with a few tracks, not with the set. The DVD doesn’t really deliver anything but the CD tweaked a bit, a lot of lights and a stream of insanely quick cuts, and the extras hardly do much to support the material.
Again – It’s great to hear and see the album replicated wonderfully by the band. It just doesn’t sell it as well as one would think.