The firestarter

The Prodigy became one of the most important names of the nineties mixing punk with electronica and big beat. On the day of Keith Flint’s passing we evoke the work and stamina of the band’s frontman.

It’s 1996 and the second day of Super Bock Super Rock, an open air festival hosting its 2nd edition in Lisbon and featuring David Bowie on the third and last day. After a first day featuring Portuguese bands the second proved to be the most fruitful given the chance we had to see acts that would become major names in modern music, from the Divine Comedy to Fluke, from Massive Attack to The Prodigy. After the easy listening charm of The Divine Comedy, the groovy sounds of Fluke and the mellow tunes of Massive Attack the Prodigy ignited the audience with their powerful sound and the strong presence of Keith Flint. “Firestarter“ was the hit of the moment and all of a sudden the whole audience was pogo dancing in a sort of wild exorcism assisted by a 25-year young man with devilish hair and grins jumping like mad in a relentless performance. We hadn’t seen anything like this for a long time since the days of punk. It was as if punk was back under a new guise assisted by electronic beats and power drums. It wasn’t the first time Punk and derivatives had taken to the clubs with their hard beats. Names like SPK, Nitzer Ebb of DAF had done it to perfection before them. But The Prodigy were making it now in the nineties, the craziest decade as far as music is concerned and when rockers engaged in dance moves thanks to bands like Underworld, Chemical Brothers, Leftfield, Renegade Soundwave and The Prodigy. After a decade of new punk and synth, madchester and rave, the early nineties were much about rock either under grunge or combined with a molotov cocktail of beats and riffs which The Prodigy did master. Most of Prodigy’s material was signed by Liam Howlett, but much of the success of the band was due to Keith Flint with his provocative looks, spiked hair and piercings, who had joined the band as a dancer but who would become the frontman and distinguishing mark of the band, the very same man who brought back some rebellion to the music scene. Keith Flint died today at the age of 49 and the music scene is now paying tribute and acknowledging his role as one of the most influential names in the 1990’s.

Carlos Tomé Sousa   

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