Live Review: Leftfield

24 February 2016 | 3:20 pm | Gareth Williams

"Honestly, who sits down at a live dance music event?"

Having released just three albums in their 30 years of existence, this London outfit have proved it is all very much a matter of quality over quantity and quality is what the sold-out Perth crowd got. In perfect progressive house form, the build-up was slow but when the drop arrived with Little Fish the Festival Gardens audience were on their feet partying like it was 1999 (except for those seated up in the stands). Honestly, who sits down at a live dance music event?

Founding (and only original) member Neil Barnes was at centre stage and delivered the set's core utilising keyboards, samples, percussion and even a melodica. He was supported on his right by his long-time producer Adam Wren — adding more samples and keyboard — and Nick Rice on his left who added a huge layer of live drums. Combining acoustic with electronic percussion, Beresford was relentless.

Mid-set arrived with a bit of a left turn as special vocal guest MC Cheshire Cat gave a brilliant rendition of Chant of A Poor Man then a slightly chilled-out Swords at the hands of Ofei, before building back up to a driving second half of a set, reaching its peak with a wall of sound in Phat Planet. Barnes' trio had the crowd in the grip of their hands, pulling off an old-school, progressive-house set reminiscent of the best of Underworld and Chemical Brothers.

To the absolute delight of the Perth crowd, Leftfield delivered a superbly crafted set of seamless dance music supported by a stunning visual and light show. Lifting tracks from all three albums, even some of the seated people were on their feet with hands in the air by the end, enjoying a dance music masterclass. 'Iconic' is a word bandied around to describe artists far too often these days, but there is no doubt that when it comes to dance music Leftfield deserved this descriptor.

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