Review: [email protected] Roundhouse
SHORTLY after 10.15pm on Thursday night, the plug was pulled on Underworld’s King Of Snake and an unconvincing fire alarm evacuation left hundreds of techno refugees on the streets of Chalk Farm, not quite knowing what had just happened or what to do next.
The interval gave the night a theatrical edge, but after the confused audience had shuffled back inside, it took until Low Burn, from new album Barbara Barbara, we face a shining future, to regain momentum. This was followed by an epic version of dance classic Rez and, inevitably, a euphoric climax with Born Slippy.
That Karl Hyde and Rick Smith managed to rescue the evening illustrates how the 90s survivors have always been prepared to graft for their longevity.
The duo had made a sober start to their set with the robust chants of comeback single I Exhale – Hyde’s signature splintered verse announcing the band’s return.
Dark Train, backed by vintage stage lighting, evoked 90s dance scene nostalgia before the thumping bass and vivid electro of Nylon Strung – Barbara’s stand-out track – had the sold-out Roundhouse in raptures.
Two Months Off and a frantic performance of Jumbo followed before the spotlight was turned on the audience of veteran ravers during Push Upstairs – sharing the spotlight allowed the band to acknowledge their loyal followers and also highlighted the fire exits for the forthcoming drama.
An intoxicating night, even with its bizarre punctuation, further establishing Underworld as national treasures.