The Chemical Brothers // Glastonbury, 2019 – George Nash
For 360 days a year, it’s just a field in Somerset. But for five days in June (under normal circumstances at least) it is transformed into a carnival of audio-visual splendour. And for 90 or so euphoric, hallucinatory minutes during the summer of 2019, it felt altogether otherworldly.
Caught somewhere between the striking dystopian cityscape of Blade Runner 2049, the vast VR plains of Tron, and the neon-splattered cesspool of decadence that is Rouge City in Spielberg and Kubrick’s A.I. Artificial Intelligence, The Chemical Brothers’ Glastonbury set was a multisensory melting pot of spectacle and genre.
Synths fused with Electronica. Lasers cut the evening sky. That carefree clothing confidence that seems to manifest only at music festivals—Kappa sweatshirts; Fila shorts; a headband fashioned from a pair of multi-coloured tights your girlfriend wore in a Primary School play in 2002—was palpable.
As ‘Go’ began, several enormous, computer-generated figures darted across the stage before leaping out into the darkness. When ‘Galvanize’ sounded, an inflatable giraffe emerged from the crowd, bopping wildly atop a myriad of mesmerised stares, flailing arms and shit hats. Just a field in Somerset? Try telling that to anyone there that night.