it’s funny how these things work backwards. when i was on a school tour in greece in 2001, i picked up this single, mainly for the remixes by futureshock and bedrock. but it was the crazy live version of rez/cowgirl at the end of the disc which thrilled and excited me in equal measure. a few months later, on another school trip, i discovered the live album from which this track came, everything, everything. i remember someone making daft hand gestures in time with the violent synths of push upstairs, and i remember being utterly bewildered by the vocal acrobatics coming from karl hyde’s mouth. whatever about on record, his incoherent ramblings seemed impossible to recreate live, but he did it. check the manic breakdown in the middle of king of snake, or the infamous “lager lager” section of born slippy. never having seen them live, it was an exhilarating listen, and almost made up for this gap in my experience. when they played electric picnic last year, i unfortunately missed most of their set (clashes and bar queues can be a curse), but i arrived just as they were kicking into cowgirl, which was the track i was most desperate to see. watching this video several days later almost brought tears to my eyes, beautiful as it was. while some festival shows can be a bit drab and underwhelming, often leading to massive disappointment, the atmosphere in the air at this performance was, quite simply, electric. just watch this.
what really brought this album back to my attention was the lights display at transmission last week, as they featured a series of giant, pixellated green squares. what else could they be? i even mentioned it to a few other people who all saw what i saw. so many artists are turning their hands to live shows these days, and it’s rare that they can pull it off. if they all had a listen to this album, maybe they’d have a better idea of what they should be doing. six years after i first discovered this collection, it still excites me more than most live shows. either most live shows really suck, or this album really rocks. i’ll let you decide.