This year’s Ericsson@Homelands Festival is the strongest and most diverse line-up of live dance acts and DJs ever assembled in Scotland. We bring you all the details . . .


How low indeed. That rallying call of

Public Enemy"s Chuck D is a slogan the genial young men of Leftfield have taken obsessively. religiously. impossibly to heart.

We‘re standing in the Barrowlaml and it’s positively reverberating. Pulsing waves of bass crash over us like breakers in a storm. No ordinary bass. you understand. but huge crystalline clear. rhythmic whumps of low end. They have built up a bit of a reputation as rather noisy chaps. Their show at Brixton Academy in l‘)‘)() was the loudest ever recorded at the venue. In Belgium. they hit such a volume that some punters complained. ‘We haven‘t had any complaints on this tour yet.‘ retorts Neil Barnes. the chatty half of the band. ‘I don‘t think we ever had complaints in this country. I think it goes the other way: people want it louder.‘

Where others pay attention to pouting or posturing. l.eftfield‘s secret to a truly great show is to blend the weight and dynamics of the dancelloor with the familiarity of a live rock show. Barnes is poised centre stage in front of a bank of keyboards and studio partner Paul Daley mans the drums. ()ver ()0 minutes they put the assembled throng through the wringer. rolling out tune after tune. pummelling them into delirium with their custom—built sound system. They apply old fashioned rave

aesthetics (teasing breakdowns.

build-ups and climaxes) to their

techno-meets-dub-reggae-meets- electro sound. and whip the crowd


into a frenzy. Leftfield rewrite the live show rule book. A book from which the likes of the Chemical

Brothers. Fatboy Slim and their other squalid beat huxters could take a leaf

or two.

This live experience works nowhere better than at a festival. so it was a shrewd move by the chain of Homelands festivals to stick the duo on the top of the bill. liricssoanHomelands. as it is known this year. has a trio of dates Dublin. Ayrshire and Hampshire with a more eclectic and exciting bill than ever before. The Irish leg has already taken place and it set the Leftfield duo off to a roaring start. ‘lt was only our third gig and we went on stage without a soundcheck.‘ says Barnes. 'You‘re always a bit nervous as you

really true.’ Neil Barnes

don‘t know if everything is going to work. but it was a great gig.’

Back in NOS. l.eftfield‘s debut album Leftism changed the way dance acts thought about albums. Their pioneering fusion of dub reggae. hip hop. house. techno and electro with strong vocal performances from the likes of one- time Sex Pistol John Lydon and indie chanteuse Toni llalliday traversed music genres and crossed over into the mainstream. lt sold half a million copies in the UK alone. They continued to rise in profile with remixes of several big names. including David Bowie. and provided music for the soundtracks


The amps are cranked to eleven, LEFTFIELD are headlining ERICSSON@HOMELANDS, and the punters want it even louder. Words: Mark Robertson.



of both Shallow Grave and 'li‘ainspatting. With such a huge task to follow. Daley and Barnes duly locked themselves in the studio to work on Leftism‘s successor.

Nothing was heard of them until mid-1999 when they provided the soundtrack for what Channel 4 viewers voted the best TV ad ever. The tense bassline from ‘Phat Planet~ provided the heartbeat for the Guinness surfers ad.

The album ththm Aml Stealth was released that autumn and. while some grumbled that it was not as instantly accessible as its predecessor. it did confirm the duo‘s status as true dance music innovators.

There was. however. a great deal of pressure if not from their record

company then from the

II don't the idea Of saying you dance music world and. need earplugs to hear us. It's not

indeed. from themselves to surpass the work on Leftism. ‘lt's like writing and having a very successful first novel and three months later everyone wants to read the second novel.‘ says Barnes. ‘We didn‘t hold back on I.t{/ti.s'ti1. we just let it all out.‘ Despite claims by the music press. Rhythm Aml Stealth was not scrapped and started again. ‘Bits of it were.‘ Barnes concedes. ‘There were three or four tracks we weren‘t happy with. We had to go back and do final mixes on a couple of tracks again because the stuff we finished off with sounded of higher quality than some of the stuff we started with.‘

Continued over page > 25 May—~8 Jun 2000 THE “ST”