Sydney can feel a long way from the UK—and even further from ’90s electronica—at the best of times. So it was a minor miracle of metaphysics to feel both in London and rewound to circa 15 years ago when Leftfield stormed the Enmore Theatre in March.
The penultimate night of their Future Music tour, Neil Barnes, Sebastian Beresford (replacing Paul Daley on drums) and Adam Wren delivered a consummately polished performance with self-assured magnitude and big, dirty storytelling that can probably only come from twenty-or-so years of experience. Succinctly pulling it all together with seasoned finesse, Barnes’ direction was not so much “comeback tour” as confirmation that the dance music aficionado never really left.
There were peaks and troughs, tribal, trippy visuals, the whole crew of (mostly teddy-bear like) dub and reggae vocalists, including Cheshire Cat and Earl 16, and a massive, bang-up-for-it audience. The Enmore’s heart-thumpingly loud soundsystem delivered the picks of Leftfield’s oeuvre to the sweating crowd with precision and pounding bass as the PA punched way above its weight with delicious effect.
The cherry-on-top moment had to be utterly at-ease vocalist Jess Mills’ rendition of “Original,” dreamily transporting the entranced crowd before Djum Djum lobbed a chaotic hand grenade into the audience in the form of a wild, ribald “Afro Left.” A stomping encore saw a pounding “Phat Planet” hit Newtown—weirdly appropriate on St Patrick’s Day as the buoyed punters emerged onto loud, Guinness-splashed streets.
Read it online at RA here.