Alas, this was not the case. Despite a fervent passion for electronic music - yet evidently, not fervent enough - I had never had the pleasure. For those who find themselves in a similar boat, the London duo are one of the biggest electronic bands of the 90’s, and have even been described as "the single most influential production team working in British dance music" by the trusty lot over at MixMag.
As I say, it would have been easy to pretend that I knew all that long before the gig, but then this review would’ve just been another internet site saying good things about a band because, well that’s what you’re meant to do. This way, it’s a bit more interesting. Because the thing about band’s with lasting legacies is that often their actual music has become less and less accessible or relevant as time has gone on. For Leftfield, this is not the case. So this way, we get to say good things about the music because the music deserves it, and because to be able to draw in new customers 16 years after first ending the group (Leftfield initially ran from 1989 - 2002 before reforming in 2010), speaks volumes in itself.
I quickly went from completely ignorant to completely hooked on Leftfield’s hard-hitting electronic sound in the run up to Electric Fields. Perhaps it’s how blatant and apparent the influence of their music is to what followed and the modern day, even on first listen, that makes them so accessible. The term “progressive house”, used as a genre these days, was actually first coined to define Leftfield’s fusion of house with dub and reggae.
Afro Left features a pulsing bassline while MC Djum Djum walks to and fro the Electric Fields stage rapping what I had learned a few days before the gig was actually just gibberish, or “Djum Djum talk”, as the group called it, after the African vocalist and musician (aka Neil Cole), who came up with the rap (which was presumed to be an unspecified African language on the songs release in ‘95).
Open Up a euphoric journey always building to more and Phat Planet is, put simply, just an absolute banger of a house-meets-techno track. It starts up and goes up even further.
My only disappointment comes in the lack of inclusion of some of the deeper cuts I discovered in my Leftfield hole that don’t end up in the setlist - namely the hard-from-the-start, appropriately-named Snake Blood - but it’s a set that has the audience hooked from start to finish.
Leftfield are a group you need to dance to, and they are a group you will want to dance to.
This is electronic dance music that is not only accessible but addictive. It draws you in and leaves you wanting more. Leftfield are one of those groups where, it seems, no matter how late you arrive to the party, once you’ve heard the music, you’re not surprised by the legacy.