Live At Brixton Academy - Pendulum Album Review


Album Review

Now I may be a bit biased as I was at this gig when it was being filmed, but the truth is when live performances are recorded for DVD, you dont get the same sense and excitement as being there in person. Thats why I was a bit cynical when I heard Pendulum, arguably one of the best live bands there is, were bringing out a live DVD.

I will be the first to admit my cynicism was wrong. This DVD is phenomenal. It has been shot with a grainy picture quality, making it feel gritty, raw more real.

The appeal of Pendulums live set is unique. Often with drum n bass, live sets tend to be one or two guys stuck behind some decks, mixing to make their sound as close to polished while some fancy lighting goes off around them. Well, Pendulum have that fancy lighting but they have all the appeal of a rock band on top of a drum n bass sound. Their sound is flawless and brought alive with the use of live instruments with Gareth on bass, Perry on Guitar, Kodish on drums, Ben the MC and Rob on a mixture of synthesisers centre stage.

Rob is oddly calm in the centre of the storm on stage. He has the concentration needed for a flawless performance and has a great stage presence, wowing the crowd with his array of instruments and electronic voice effects. There is a real energy both onstage and in the audience. With not much encouragement from Ben, the crowd pulsate along to the music which is mesmerising captured on tape.

Their remix of The Prodigys Voodoo People is a definitive highlight of the set. Its brought to life in their live set with the guitar more edgy than their recorded version and Bens MCing on top. The live drums really bring something special to Propane Nightmares. In fact, Pendulums complete set brings the great quality of their CDs to life with more edge, more fire and its clear that the crowd love it. You get a real feel of the atmosphere in Brixton Academy and it has you bouncing along at home, wishing you had been there (or in my case, there again reliving this!).

The extras section provides some great scenes including the band and crew goofing around in front of the camera during sound check. There is a great Fan Tracks section where songs at the gig have been filmed by fans in the crowd at Brixton. It captures the frenzy of the crowd during their favourite songs, and some overenthusiastic moshing. Live DVDs usually are so finely edited to exclude any shaky, over-glared visuals that it can seem over-produced. These songs with their grainy, shaky scenes most of which doesnt even feature the band on stage (when it does it is through a sea of arms and camera phones), instead focusing on the dancing crowd lets its viewers experience the gig more subjectively from the fans point of view. Its definitely something that looks like it belongs on YouTube and not an official DVD, but it definitely adds to the value and appeal of Pendulums Live At Brixton Academy DVD I just wouldnt recommend it if you suffer from photosensitive epilepsy!

The extras also feature an amusing Fans Blog section with a diverse section of (seemingly London hating!) fans from across the country no doubt the people featured will be embarrassed to watch back after purchasing this DVD. My favourite is the inebriated Santa giving his final say on the gig.

There is also a great Interactive Mode where you can watch the gig and get prompts to view some gems such as exclusive backstage content from the band throughout the set.

The CD offers fewer tracks than the whole set shown on the DVD, so it is a bonus that both are sold in this double CD/DVD package. Edited down, it drops 9,000 Miles, Midnight Runner, and Mutiny from the set list. To be honest, at times the sporadic MCing doesnt translate well to CD, but after a couple of listens it is easy to close your eyes and get a real picture of the scene in Brixton academy.

This CD/DVD just proves that they are an excellent live band, and if you havent had a chance to catch them live yet you need this DVD.

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