Fatboy Slim

Giant's Park is a fitting venue for the radio-friendly king of dance, writes Ryan Hand

At one point during Fatboy Slim's epic set at Giant's Park myself and my +1 get separated. It's during 'Right Here, Right Now', one of Norman Cook's stand out tracks, and with a video representing Darwin's theory of evolution emblazoned across the massive screens to the rear of the stage I search in vain for my friend, oblivious as to his whereabouts in a sea of bouncing spectators.

He has no such worries, however, later confirming that I had momentarily appeared on those giant LED screens behind Mr Slim himself, happy and hollaring in the front row. My claim to fame, if ever I had one.

Despite the threat of the great British weather, Planetlove Promotions never seemed to get their feathers ruffled by this prospect. All the ingredients were in place. Giants Park, an exciting new outdoor venue on the north foreshore of Belfast Lough, basked in glorious sunshine on the day as 20,000 multi-coloured music heads awaited the man himself; the undisputed daddy of dance.

For the eco-warriors in attendance, there is an eco-friendly feel good factor in the air, as the site previously used as wasteland ground is put to good use.

The supporting line up is a star studded affair. Dutch DJ Sydney Samson joins forces with Radio1 turntablist Kissy Sellout, and New Zealand born Radio1 front man Zane Lowe. Another notable name on the bill is the Canadian Deadmau5, famous for wearing a mouse head mask during performances.

Fatboy slim, aka Norman Cook’s, entrance is nothing short of spectacular. Cue the rumbling thunderclouds booming through the stacked speakers, the flashing fork lightening effects filling up the blackened sky; and all this accompanied by a 30 foot long robotic face preaching to the mass gathering of raving revellers:

'Welcome all my psychedelic boys, and my psychedelic girls, its time for us to shine in our psychedelic world, where as children we laugh, and we sing, and we play to our psychedelic music like aliens from space.'

The minute long vocal introduction is the build up to a euphoric arrival on stage, where Fatboy Slim appears from under the stand supporting his turntables to announce his presence with the opening of ‘Praise You'. Stood with his arms spread wide, a beaming stage light shines down upon him as if he is to ascend into the night sky.

The two hour visual and musical extravaganza is completed by the biggest lasers ever used in Ireland – rumoured to be seen from as far away as the Isle of Man and Scotland.

The Brighton born lad hammers through a progressive set list of current electronic house music, finely cut with his own productions, samples, new edits and classic mash ups. The beautiful thing about attending a Fatboy Slim concert is the surprise element of not knowing what’s coming next.

Only the Hawaiian shirt wearing DJ could pull off a remix of his own track ‘The Rockafellar Skank’, vs. ‘Satisfaction’ by the Rolling Stones. Developing this theme, Slim samples the likes of ‘Eye of the Tiger’ and ‘He’s Frank’, which features Iggy Pop on vocals, over the top of fast tempo house bass lines.

It’s his outrageous set lists that have seen Cook reign as clubbing supremo since the mid-1990’s, and tonight is no exception. His legions of loyal fans have travelled on his bandwagon well into 2010, like one lady who travelled all the way from County Cork for the gig.

On today's turnout alone, I'm sure that Fatboy Slim won't be the last global act to headline Giant's Park - Northern Ireland's new venue for musical giants.

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