Yeeeeha, Divine and Raymond Speedie are going to be there in full review capacity. What an honour this is going to be. Good time Divine ❤
This was the Gig that had to be rescheduled from SWG3 last December. Am so pleased they upgraded to The Barrowland Ballroom because it is by far my fave venue, Leftfield and Sprung dancefloors go hand in hand. It’s completely sold out of course. I bought the brilliant new long player “This Is What We Do” on its release. So its had a good six months to work its way into my subconscious. Leftfield are one of the bands that DJ Divine collects, remixes and stuff. I remained a leftfield Virgin till 2015. Where I experienced them perform at Glastonbury that year. Alas I was disappointed, not with Leftfield but with the sound production and how messy this vast auditorium was, Mind I had been working all day.
Fast forward a few months and Leftfield announced that they would be performing at what is now the 02 in Edinburgh in October. Of course I snapped up a ticket, I knew this was going to be the hymen-breaking Leftfield Concert. that I had been waiting for, for decades Indeed, I had been performing Alternative Lightsource in my DJ sets that year, I was very techno focused at the time, In general leftfield always make the mix.
Leftism and Rythm And Stealth, two of the greatest Elelctronic Genre defining works of musical art. Who’s live shows were legendary.. Leftfields reputation superceded them and my anticipation was huge for this one. It was fucking amazing and by far the best dance of the year and the only Gig that has ever left me deaf for 48 hours ❤.
This time around, I will get to see them at the Barrowland Ballroom first and then at Glastonbury Festival. My knickers are soaking for this one ❤
What makes Leftfield So Fucking Ace ❤
Leftfield are a British electronic music group formed in 1989, a duo of Neil Barnes and Paul Daley (the latter formerly of the Rivals and A Man Called Adam). The duo was influential in the evolution of electronic music in the 1990s, with Mixmag describing them as “the single most influential production team working in British dance music”. As with many of their contemporaries, such as the Chemical Brothers and Fatboy Slim, Leftfield are notable for their use of guest vocalists in their works. Among them are Toni Halliday on “Original”, Johnny Rotten on “Open Up”, Djum Djum on “Afro-Left”, Earl 16 and Cheshire Cat on “Release the Pressure”, and Grian Chatten of Fontaines D.C. on Full Way Round. The term progressive house was coined to define their style, a fusion of house with dub and reggae.
Neil Barnes’ music career started off as a DJ at The Wag Club while simultaneously playing percussion on a session basis. In 1986, he joined the London School of Samba and played the Bateria in the 1986 Notting Hill Carnivall Around 1989, inspired by Afrika Bambaataa Barnes decided to try his hand at electronic music production, the results of which were the tracks “Not Forgotten” and “More Than I Know”, released on the Rhythm King label For the remixes of these tracks, Barnes called upon Paul Daley percussion player with A Man Called Adam and formerly a session musician for the Brand New Heavies and Primal Scream, appearing on their Dixie-Narco EP. Barnes and Daley had previously worked together as percussionists at The Sandals first club, Violets.
Described by Barnes as the sound of 15 years of frustration coming out in one record”, the piece was termed “Progressive House” by Mixmag and held significant prominence in nightclubs from 1991 onwards As their mutual interest in electronic music became clear the pair decided that they would work instead upon Leftfield, once Barnes had extricated himself from his now troublesome contract with Rhythm King subsidiary, Outer Rhythm.
The name Leftfield was originally used by Barnes for his first single, with editing/arranging and additional production undertaken by Daley. However, after this, Daley was subsequently involved in remixing “Not Forgotten” and thereafter in the creation of all of Leftfield’s work until the band split up in 2002.
During this period, in which the band could not release their own music owing to the legal dispute with Rhythm King, the pair undertook remix work for React 2 Rhythm, I.C.P. (Ice Cool Productions), Supereal, Inner City, Sunscreem, Ultra Naté and provided two remixes to David Bowie’s single “Jump They Say”. Finally, once the problems with their former label had been sorted out, Leftfield were able to unveil their single “Release the Pressure”.
Leftfield’s first major career break came with the single “Open Up”, a collaboration with John Lydon (of Sex Pistols fame) Indeed, it was this track that bridged the divide between the tribes of Post Punk and Rave culture. I guess I had a Punk Rock snobbery back then. Open Up bridged that divide and it all made sense.
The debut album, Leftism soon followed in 1995, blending dub, breakbeat, and house. It was shortlisted for the 1995 Mercury Music Prize In a 1998 Q magazine poll, readers voted it the eightieth greatest album of all time, while in 2000 Q placed it at number 34 in its list of the 100 Greatest British Albums Ever. The album was re-released in 2000 with a bonus disc of remixes, and again in 2017 as a remastered version with eleven completely new remixes. Have always wondered what a band does when their first album is one of the best and most loved debuts of all time. A groundbreaking work of innovation and art. Leftism is the God of Techno in perfection.
Rhythm and Stealth
Their second album, Rhythm and Stealth (1999) maintained a similar style, and featured Roots Manuva, Afrika Bambaataa and MC Cheshire Cat from Birmingham. Indeed there was great anticipation for the release of Rythm And Stealth, following the phenomenal success of Leftism. It couldn’t have been easy creating a follow-up to that one. Most of us were kinda hoping for a Leftism Part two. What we got was a genre-defining education in hard-edged Techno a pounding rhythms electronic beauty, that took everyone by surprise. 28 years on it still holds it charms.
But then Leftfield were gone and wouldn’t release another album until 2015. 16 years a long time to wait for Alternative Light Source,
On 25 March 2015, the new single, “Universal Everything”, was premiered on Annie Mac’s BBC Radio 1 show. Shortly afterwards the new album was announced via the Leftfield website and social networks, along with UK tour dates for June 2015. Alternative Light Source, Leftfield’s first album in 16 years, was released on 8 June 2015 on Infectious Records. “Head and Shoulders” features Sleaford Mods on vocals, and its stop-motion and animation hybrid video debuted on Pitchfork on 6 August 2015.
This Is What We Do
A fourth album was declared finished by Barnes via Twitter on 4 February 2022, later revealed to be titled This Is What We Do. It was released on 2 December 2022.
So on June the 1st, Leftfield are bringing the party juggernaut to Glasgow, to begin the next chapter of seeing one of my favourite electronic acts of all time. Ladies and Gentlemen. Leftfield are coming to town ❤
Full Report Coming Soon. ❤
See ya on the Dancefloor baby ❤
The Leftfield Live Band
Vocalists that appeared are noted on each track.
Making a Difference (feat Cheshire Cat)
Rapture 16 (feat Earl Daley)
Release the Pressure (feat Earl Daley and Cheshire Cat)
This Is What We Do
Power of Listening
Song of Life
The Gig ❤
Divine set off for this Rock N Roll Spectacular on the 5.30pm stagecoach to Glasgow for what was gearing up to be the best party of the year so far. I got to The Barrowland Ballroom at about 7.30pm, picked up my review pass, put my jacket in the cloakroom and headed for the sprung lushness that my dancing feet were crying out for. As James Brown quoted, “Dance solves most problems!” The warm-up DJs did a brilliant job getting everyone into the groove – the boogie was on. As I said earlier this was a completely sold-out gig and the Ballroom was soon packed to capacity with middle-aged ravers that were completely up for it. Dry ice filled the Ballroom and Leftfield took to the stage. and everyone went mental as Techno Heaven emanated from The Leftfield Soundsystem The opening number Pulse, a piece of music drawn from the new long player “This Is What We Do,” lit the touchpaper and the capacity audience exploded with delight on a 90 minute journey of electronic perfection.
Of course Leftfield appeal to an older audience, they are a band who’s music has been an important part of a certain generation’s whole evolution, spiritually and musically. One could see that in the audience tonight a sea of memories all around me. Being taken back to Good Times. ❤ As each song performed tonight was greeted with an ecstatic hero’s welcome. Like welcoming an old friend that has brought one untold joy. Everyone was dancing with passion. With a selection of songs drawn from Leftfield’s 4-album back catalogue of electronic perfection brought to life. It was after the opening number that everyone was instructed to switch off their mobile phones and be in the moment. Because each moment really did count. The light show was phenomenal and the sound was reassuringly loud. With Cheshire Cat and Earl Daley the original vocalists that sang the original parts on “Making A Difference, Rapture 16 and Release The Pressure, everyone in the ballroom found a Love That Lasts All Time tonight, and that love is a love of Leftfield.
The encore was just as spectacular. Melt, Song For Life, and the closing number, Phat Planet, brought one of the best concerts I have ever attended, to a climax. As a sea of fulfilled happy faces flooded into Glasgow each one knowing that they had just been part of something special. James Brown was right. That was fucking awesome.
Words: Mark ‘Divine’ Calvert
Photography: Raymond Speedie