Thirty-something years after they first met at the University of Manchester, Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands, better known by their legendary electronic alias, The Chemical Brothers, returned to where it all began to kick off the Halloween weekend at the AO Arena.
Spending their formative years in the midst of the ‘Madchester‘scene, the globally renowned group got the ball rolling on their DJ career by showcasing their skills and enthusiasm for acid house and techno at house parties across the city and former club nights like Naked Under Leather at the long since closed Old Steam Brewery on Oxford Road.
For the pair of precocious producers, it was their uni days when they reached their music maturity; fast forward 30 years and here we are: ten studio albums and six Grammy Awards later, waiting for them to emerge from the smoke in a venue with equally iconic status.
With the arena floor filled from back to front and fans packed shoulder to shoulder across both tiers, the big-beat dance duo launched into a sensational set with two of their biggest hits, ‘Go’ and ‘Do It Again‘, signalling to the crowd that there’s been no slowing down even after all these years.
In typical Chemical Brothers style, the visuals accompanying the music helped create a fully immersive audio-visual experience and almost alternate reality — at least for a couple of hours, anyway.
With Japanese-inspired dancing figures, painted ominous faces and mesmerising artwork splashed across gigantic screens, lasers flying across the audience and disco balls sending blinding beams of light in every direction, there was mind-bending pageantry with every track.
Stopping halfway through their practically pulverizing set, the superstar DJs turn up the lights and raise their hands in worship of the loyal fan base they’ve built over the past three decades.
The former Glastonbury headliners went on to showcase some material from their new album, For That Beautiful Feeling, seamlessly blending new and old tracks and reinforcing the fact that regardless of age or the electronic scene looking very different these days, they are still well and truly at the very top of their game.
After grooving their way through two hours of psychedelic visuals, deafening bass and plenty of reverb, 28,000 sore eardrums made their way to the exit already wondering when The Chemical Brothers will make their next homecoming appearance.
One thing’s for sure, you’ll find us first in line next time they do.
If you ever wanted to learn more about how these two legends of the genre got their start and how Manchester served as their proving ground all the way back at the beginning, you can check our recent interview with Ed Simons himself, who made it apparent just how much love they still have for this city.
And last but not least, be sure to keep up to date with all the latest Manchester music news over on The Manc Audio.
Avril Lavigne announces huge Manchester gig as she joins Sounds of the City 2024 lineup
The queen of pop-rock, Avril Lavigne, has been announced as the latest act on the Sounds of the City 2024 lineup.
It doesn’t how much we’ve aged, she never does and neither does her music.
Confirming her first-ever gig at Castlefield Bowl, the Canadian songstress returns to Manchester and the UK at large next summer as part of the popular week-long gig series, Sounds of the City, which is already shaping up to be a truly memorable year for the event.
A pioneer of pop-punk during its heyday and now back on top following its resurgence over the last few years, having released her seventh studio album Love Sux back in 2022 — her first new material in over three years — Avril Lavigne will be playing at the beloved outdoor venue in July.
Confirmed as part of an announcement for a pair of special summer performances, the other being at Cardiff Castle, the 39-year-old (there’s no way that we’re having she’s nearly 40) will be playing Castlefield Bowl on Wednesday, 3 July 2024.
She joins the likes of Jungle, Tom Grennan, The National and several others already announced for the festival, not to mention other non-SOTC-related concerts scheduled for the amphitheatre, like Loyle Carner, Fat Boy Slim and more.
The multi-platinum-selling noughties icon will undoubtedly be one of the biggest names to ever play the Bowl when she rocks up next summer and in addition to hearing some of her more recent tunes, you’re simply not prepared for how loud we’re about to scream ‘Complicated’ and ‘Sk8er boi’.
Better still, she’s also bringing along fellow pop-punk favourites Simple Plan along with her to both shows, so you can enjoy a real throwback vibe come July.
The very special homecoming show will be New Order‘s first full headline performance in the city since 2021.
The group are widely accepted to be one of the most influential bands of all time and this year celebrated 40 years of their hit Blue Monday.
They were founded in 1980 by vocalist and guitarist Bernard Sumner, bassist Peter Hook and drummer Stephen Morris, who had all been together in Joy Division, which disbanded after the suicide of lead singer Ian Curtis.
This year, the band announced reissued editions of their classic compilation ‘Substance 1987’, the band’s biggest-selling album to date.
They also headlined Barcelona’s Primavera Sound before they commenced their UK and European tour this autumn.
New Order will be supported by Johnny Marr, good friend of the band and legendary guitarist of The Smiths.
Marr and Sumner previously worked on synth-dance act Electronic together, and released three albums.
Johnny Marr announced a new album earlier this year – ‘Spirit Power: The Best of Johnny Marr’ will celebrate the first ten years of his solo career, featuring songs from across his four solo albums.
Fans can expect to hear Johnny’s greatest hits alongside the brand new track ‘The Answer’ as he takes to the stage at Wythenshawe Park next August.
Also supporting New Order at Wythenshawe Park will be adopted Manc Roisin Murphy, known in the 1990s as one half of pop duo Moloko.
The Irish singer and songwriter recently released her universally acclaimed sixth studio album, Hit Parade.
Presale tickets will go on sale from Monday 4 December at 10am, while general sale tickets go on sale on Tuesday 5 December at 10am, and you can grab yours here.