Sunday, August 19, 2012

[BR] The Chemical Brothers: Don't Think (2012)

Friends will know I'm a fan of The Chemical Brothers, especially since spending school days in labs with their music constantly played as an apt distraction from work needed to be done. So I've spent a fair bit of time with their music, but yet to attend any of their performances / concerts even if they had swung by into Singapore - I can't remember. So I was indeed surprised to see this Blu-Ray available in a warehouse sale because it's a fairly recent product, so it has to be rescued from the bargain bin. No regrets there.

Filmed with a 20 person camera crew during last year's Fuji Rock Festival in Japan in front of a 50,000 strong crowd, since it's after all, the final headline act, Don't Think is a live album and concert film rolled into one, with views throughout either from amongst the party-goers, at the stage, or a top down view of the console to see Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons in action. It puts you right there together with the thousands of people, just minus the sweat and smell, and soon you'd find yourself bobbing to, and probably dancing along, as the Brothers work it out.

Directed by Adam Smith, there's a little bit of a narrative going on as well, as there are periodic breaks from the usual stage-audience cut-aways, to following Mario Kobayashi Stopford, credited as the Girl at Fuji, as we get to walk around a bit at the concert venue to check out the trails between performance venues, and various food and drinks shops fueling hungry and thirsty people taking a break from the non-stop festival. It puts you right there and then as if you're part of the festivities, even if you're really just lounging at home and watching this through a screen.

But the highlight of course is the staggering LED screen projecting hundreds of psychedelic images and laser light effects that accompany the many tunes the Chemical Brothers are spinning from the console, and it is these visuals that makes this film an apt substitute of being there, from ugly looking clowns to colourful silhouettes trancing to the beats. There's even an advisory the the strobbing effect may affect viewers with photo-sensitive epilepsy or other similar conditions, so be warned! It's quite unlike any other concert film where the focus is almost always on the performer, since there's nothing too interesting from seeing Rowlands and Simons operating the console, but this gets compensated manifold by the lights and effects show on display.

The Blu Ray is region free, and is presented in an anamorphic widescreen transfer which at times does show some grain, with a choice to listen to the soundtrack in 2.0 or 7.1 Dolby Digital, the latter which of course is the obvious and better reason since you'd want to recreate that sense surround concert experience. The Blu Ray also comes packaged with the CD containing just the live audio with the same tracks as played during the concert, and there's a booklet that comes within.

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