2 Many DJs (AKA Soulwax brothers Stephen and David Dewaele) didn't have to do much to cram the Arena 5 crowd into the palms of their sweaty Belgian hands, but nevertheless they went for it full throttle for two straight hours. Mixing up mainly retro alternative rock from the nineties; it turned the likes of Blur's 'Girls & Boys' into the 21st century house anthem it always wanted to be.
Similarly, Nirvana's 'Lithium' sounded like Kurt was on E rather than smack whilst White Stripe's 'Seven Nation Army' was transported into some futuristic space-battle star march. Wondrous time changing, and luscious beat injections saw one of the best crowd reactions at the event. Will they ever wanna go back to playing live after this?
The Streets' Mike Skinner is just a geezer, but he's got no trouble making end's meat now that the world's awoken to his savvy, subversive spoken word rap/dub genius. Geezers need excitement and that's exactly what The Streets give the Live Arena massive. Impatient beer boys and saucer-eyed house heads are united in the massive cheer that welcomes him home after months abroad promoting the defiantly British nu-urban sounds of Original Pirate Material.
With his fusion of beats, synths and wry rhymes, Skinner has bravely persevered with his main man, Kelvin as co emcee and vocalist and live three-piece band whose rough and ready impact is felt most strongly on the bass-driven 'Don't Mug Yourself' and 'Push Things Forward'. The rhythm section is pin sharp throughout. Swigging and spilling the obligatory beer lairiness into a full frame nu-art party, it's unsurprising that the lyrics are occasionally lost in the mayhem but for sheer heroic hedonism alone its difficult to fault. As the euphoric contemplation of 'Weak Become Heroes' soundtracks the encore, seven more hours of sublime e-scapism awaits a crowd united in a common cause. Let's get mashed up!
Chemical Brothers' DJ set was the only one of the night which had drawn a crowd so big that had you arrived even two minutes too late you'd have been forced to listen to them from twenty metres outside the tent. The Chemical Brothers were on everyone's hit list. Rocking breaks that ranged from the deep and dirty to head noddingly melodic, the Chems were two hours of unmissable bliss.
The beats flowed effortlessly and proved once more that Tom and Ed seem to succeed at anything they touch , I mean Noel Gallagher singing on a dance record and it sounding good??? They deserve medals, not just gold discs! The biggest cheers came any time their own material blessed the decks. There has been much discussion over whether their newest album is really in the Chemical spirit, but it is impossible not to be awe struck by the ear pounding bass explosion you get when 'It Began In Afrika' drops in a live venue or a slightly tweaked 'Star Guitar' melody rushes overhead. Placed in the nine o'clock slot It was the perfect two hour warm up for the remaining seven hour jaunt.