Underworld – Brighton – 7 March 2015

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I’d waited 20 years to get to feel Underworld live. But last night in Brighton I finally got the chance. This threesome from London comprising Karl Hyde, Rick Smith and Darren Price are part-way through their UK/European “Dubnobasswithmyheadman” tour to celebrate the re-release last year of their first album. This tour replicates Dubnobasswithmyheadman in its entirety with a couple of other gems chucked in for good measure.

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Rick Smith wasn’t very well, so it was just Mr Hyde and Mr Price last night – but the ‘feeling’ was still there in spades. And that’s the right thing to say. Because when ‘Dark and Long’ kicks in and the rhythm builds, you just know there’s going to be an explosion. And it’s a wall of sound that grabs you right there in the pit of your stomach and just sends you. It’s electric in every way.

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The setlist was therefore a known certainty – Dark and Long, Mmmm Skyscraper I love you, Surfboy, Spoonman, Tongue, Dirty Epic, Cowgirl, River of Bass and m.e. But then there was a big bit of Bigmouth with Karl Hyde showing off his blues harp prowess to great aplomb, culminating in a standing ovation from a three thousand strong packed house just braying for more.

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And we were not to be disappointed. How could we be? For, after a brief dark curtain, the duo returned to a dry-ice filled stage and the unmistakable dulcet tones of ‘Born Slippy’ drowned completely by three thousand plus people screaming at the tops of our voices.

That’s what I call a gig! One more thing to tick off of my bucket list – although it may get added back in because, given the chance, I’d one-hundred percent go again!

Classic albums A-Z: Underworld – Second toughest in the infants (1996)

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Underworld‘s fourth studio album earns classic status twice – once for the music and once for the sheer brilliance of the album title. Second Toughest in the Infants conjures up so much about so many things, brilliance being one of them. Just as well really as this is what this album is all about.

There are are ten instances of brilliance here. But shining for me remain ‘Kiteless’, ‘Stagger’ and particularly ‘Pearl’s Girl’. The kick line in the latter is ‘crazy crazy crazy crazy…’ etc ad infinitum but, to a certain three-year old future singer daughter of mine, Karl Hyde’s pronunciation ┬ámade it sound like ‘Gracey, Gracey, Gracey, Gracey…’ ad infinitum.

The subtle kick line change stuck and remains. So, whenever I hear it on my Shuffle now, it brings a smile and a minds-eye picture of a three-year old daughter of mine.

Full track listing
  1. Juanita
  2. Kiteless
  3. To dreams of love
  4. Barnstyle/Sappy’s Curry
  5. Confusion the waitress
  6. Rowla
  7. Pearl’s Girl
  8. Air Towel
  9. Blueski
  10. Stagger
Lineup
  • Karl Hyde (voices)
  • Rick Smith & Darren Price (keys, sequencers and programming)