Category: Chemical Brothers

Chemical Brothers' 'Don't Think' at ArcLight Hollywood on Saturday

The Chemical Brothers performs at the Hollywood Bowl on August 29, 2010.
Big-beat techno duo the Chemical Brothers have long used wide-screen visuals to amplify their pulverising drums and synth work. The concert doc "Don't Think" captured their latest touring get-up on 21 cameras at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan, but it played only a limited L.A. engagement in January.

Fans get another chance to catch it this Saturday, when it screens at a one-off 10 p.m. session at ArcLight Hollywood. Chemical Brothers' 2010 show at the Hollywood Bowl was one of the loudest, most physical electronica sets I'd ever seen, and the film -- produced by Ridley Scott's music video and documentary arm Black Dog Films -- earned strong reviews for evoking the band's sonic and visual barrage.

The film's director, Adam Smith, hosts a Q&A after the screening. One thing we'd like to know: Does he have any advice on getting that demon clown to stop haunting your dreams?

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Live review: The Chemical Brothers at the Hollywood Bowl

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-- August Brown

Photo: The Chemical Brothers, Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons, perform at the Hollywood Bowl in August 2010. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times

Coachella 2011: There's the Chemical Brothers -- but there's also a roller rink at the campground

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The Chemical Brothers
rebounded in 2010 with "Further," an album that saw the act reach for greater electronic depths, rather than the bigger club beats, and Coachella promoters Goldenvoice rewarded the dance act with a headlining main stage set. It would close out the first night of the three-day, sold-out desert rock 'n' dance party, but for many Coachella attendees, the evening was far from over. 

Over at the Coachella campgrounds a makeshift city was just springing to life. The Coachella campgrounds allot for 8,800 spots -- a 10-by-30 swatch of land in which ticket-buyers can cram as many people or tents as the space allows -- and it's filled with amenities and activities that outshine the Coachella VIP experience. There's an arcade, a farmer's market and even a roller rink.

Photos: Faces of Coachella 2011

Music manger Laurel Stearns helps organize pop-up skating rinks with Down & Derby, and oversees the 120-by-100 wooden rink constructed just for Coachella and the upcoming country-focused Stagecoach. On Thursday night/Friday morning, early camping arrivals flooded to the rink, said Stearns, who said she had 400 pairs of skates rented in one hour. All told, 700 Coachella campers came by to rent the $5 skates -- and some tried to make off with them (they were caught).

As the clock crawled toward 1 a.m., fans were still trickling into the roller rink. Some, like 18-year-old Ventura resident Lauren Emily Brown, had never really skated before. As Brown struggled to stay on her feet, Stearns noted that each night usually results in a sprained ankle or two, but there haven't been any major injuries -- "nothing fatal," Stearns said. For Brown, she had no intention on calling it a night. The rink, she said, "was here, and I like disco." 

Yet the attraction, now in its second year, represents efforts by Goldenvoice to stretch beyond just a music festival. The Ferris wheel, also in its second year, has quickly become a Coachella staple, and each year brings more interactive art -- such as people-sized hamster wheels that dancers must run in to create energy to feed amplifiers. 

"People can't just watch music for 10 hours," Stearns said.

Other lasting impressions from Coachella Night 1:

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Live review: The Chemical Brothers at the Hollywood Bowl

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In a time when practically every song on pop radio warrants glow sticks and amateur pharmaceuticals, what’s the place for old rave O.G.s like the Chemical Brothers?

For a decade starting in the mid-’90s, the duo of Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons stayed precisely one step ahead of their audience, introducing new permutations of their big-beat electronica at exactly the right moments to send them up the charts. Their deft splices of electronic music subgenres such as house, techno, garage and ambient defined the decade in U.K. dance and pop music, and anyone who remembers when raves used to be scary experiences in distant fields can thank the Chemical Brothers for mainstreaming the subculture.

But then music did a funny thing and caught up to them. An hour on Power 106 FM will yield a dozen fussy, euphoric pop and rap songs indebted to the Brothers, and the original article had to endure a few slow years creatively in the late aughts when they relied heavily on collaborations. Fortunately, the Brothers’ new album, “Further,” is a welcome return to their original thrills of smeared-up filters, sinister synth stabs and skull-crushing drums, and at Sunday’s uncharacteristically physical edition of KCRW’s World Festival at the Hollywood Bowl, they found the right home for that pioneering sound decades after its debut.

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