If you ask Chemical Brothers manager Robert Linney, this latest Chemical
Brothers North American tour is guaranteed to be a spectacle of sight, sound
But most importantly, it's about sound, he said. Sound, that is, a la the
Chemical Brothers and their highest high tech equipment.
The shows, which open tonight (Nov. 7) in Detroit, will include completely new
visuals from Vegetable Vision, the company responsible for the visuals on the
band's previous tours, as well as a Funktion1 Experimental Sound Field,
described by Linney as a wrap-around sound system which will "further
enhance the true Chemical Brothers sound experience."
Back with their growing reputation for turning live performances into virtual
techno DJ operas, Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands, the British DJ duo otherwise
known as the Chemical Brothers, will launch their latest North American tour
from Detroit's State Theater.
With Death in Vegas supporting them, the Brothers are bringing their "DJ Dance
Party" and some new material to eight cities in the U.S. and Canada - their
fourth tour of North America.
Hoping to keep up the momentum started when their Dig Your Own Hole
album debuted at #14 on the Billboard Top 200 last March, and then the
springtime North American tour that followed, the Brothers will return to large
clubs and mid-sized arenas. It's a far cry from their early DJ gigs in the shadows
of a small Manchester club.
Simons and Rowlands, known for electronic dance music with a rock 'n' roll
sensibility, use unique visuals and high quality sound to set their live shows
apart from most others.
Errol Kolosine, director of marketing and promotion for Astralwerks, the group's
label, said the Brothers' live shows are like small worlds unto themselves.
"They go to great lengths to see that visually every tour is better than the
previous tour ...that the sound system is way above the level the club usually
has," he said. "They are going to create their own environment."
Kolosine, who has accompanied the band on all of their previous North
American tours, said the Brothers' high standards in live performance drives
them to demand total control of the look and sound of the venues they play in.
The Brothers have been spinning their web of diverse musicology since
1991. They first played under the moniker the Dust Brothers, the name of
the producers whose production of the Beastie Boys' Paul's Boutique
and Check Your Head delivered to the world the concept of album as
The band intends to include some new material on this tour, Linney said. "There
will definitely be some surprises," but he was reluctant to disclose what material
will be added.
Their first two North American tours saw the Chemical Brothers performing in
smaller clubs, engendering an underground rave atmosphere. An atmosphere,
Kolosine said, they've worked hard to maintain. "One of the positive things
about [the Chemical Brothers] is they've managed to keep a large amount of
the underground audience, while welcoming an influx of more mainstream
This mix of fans has added to the eclectic environment created by the band during
performances. "Their live shows are very much a positive melting pot of people. "
Kolosine said. " The shows have an environment... a diversity of people which
challenges people's perception of things."
The idea of a touring "techno" act may seem like a new idea to U.S. audiences,
but previous electronic acts (most notably Depeche Mode in the 1980s) have
used the continual tour model to maintain a connection with an ever-growing
The group is hitting at least one city it has not visited before on this tour, San
Diego, Calif., and have "aspirations to go into [other] new markets," Kolosine
said. Some of the dates originally slated for this tour were postponed, but
Kolosine added, "sooner or later, [the band] will definitely return to those dates."
The Chemical Brothers, although receiving some MTV and radio play in recent
times, still have, like many electronica acts, not completely crossed over into the
American music scene. By staying out on the road, they can continue to build a
fan base, test the American concert-going public to accept live acts in the
general scope of non-rock music, Kolosine said.
"I have been in the crowd and it's a reality that their show challenges some
people," he added.
Chemical Brothers Tour Dates Are:
Nov. 7; Detroit, Mich. - State Theatre
Nov. 8; Chicago, Ill. - Riviera
Nov. 9; Toronto, Ont. - Warehouse
Nov. 11; Boston, Mass. - The Roxy
Nov. 13; Philadelphia, Pa. - Electric Factory
Nov. 14; New York, N.Y. - Manhattan Center/Hammerstein
Nov. 15; New York, N.Y. - Manhattan Center/Hammerstein
Nov. 17; San Diego, Calif. - The Soma
Nov. 18; Los Angeles, Calf. - Palladium
[Fri., Nov. 7, 1997, 9 a.m. PST]