Remember we were banging on about the Chemical Brothers’ live film ‘Don’t Think’, showing for one evening at FACT? Turns out it was a gob-smackingly amazing experience, as shown in the wobbly YouTube clip below.

One punter, Nic Ryan, was so overwhelmed by the whole thing he sent in a sort of mini-review to us afterwards: a post-event scribbling and stream of consciousness that perfectly sums up the brilliance of an impromptu rave-up in a cinema…

I had seen the trailer, I was excited, unsure of what to expect. A few beers before I left the house – get me in the mood, might have a dance at the end of the night. Maybe a dance, yeah? Just a dance, a little dance in the aisle.

The film starts. Heads bop, the crowd clap. Is this going to be something special? It already feels special: tonnes of kinetic energy just sitting around the the room, waiting to snap, wait to move, waiting to dance. ‘Don’t Think’ – that’s what they say. I can’t help but think, I can’t help but hope.

The guy in the furry hat? He’ll be dancing for sure. He’s already moving his arms, he can’t wait to get up. Brings a smile to my face, a big grin that won’t leave for the next 90 minutes.

The crowd on the screen are ready: some are dancing, some are staring, we are staring back. Awe has kicked in.

I’d like to be able to give a setlist, an explanation of what happened next, at which point each song came on. I was still sitting down when the big clown face came on screen. The crowd in FACT don’t seem as scared as the poor Japanese girl on our screen, staring back – fear, horror?

It’s happened. Someone is up, at the back, in the aisles. It’s happened. People look around, people want to join in. Do they want to join in? Of course they do. I want to join in.

The beats build. They drop, they build. It’s perfect. The horse comes across the screen, the floating men, the skulls, men in coats with guns and umbrellas, flashing and dancing.

It’s loud. The seats shake.

Some friends are in the aisles. The aisles are building up. An atmosphere is here, we have an atmosphere. Too early to dance?

I get up, join the crowd at the side, the front stays empty. Are we going to take the front? It’s calling us, the visuals want us, the sound wants to swallow us, we want it to swallow us whole.

‘Hey Boy Hey Girl’ comes on, it’s too much, we’re down, the crowd are down at the front, people throwing their arms up. These gods of dance music have only gone and done it – they have a crowd dancing in an art-house cinema in Liverpool. Dancing like teenagers from the 90s. This shouldn’t happen, not in FACT, not in Liverpool. No-one cares, everyone just wants to dance and move and stare at those visuals. There are monkeys and strobe lights and it’s red and yellow and orange then red again, now green, and there are robots, tigers, lasers. We become one with what we see. We enter the movie, we are there, we are at Fuji Rocks. We should go find that poor girl who was looking scared at the start. Nah, she’ll be fine. Dance, fucking dance.

Elephants, more horses, tables, lasers, insects, flashlights, traffic lights, faces, clown faces, lights, strobe lights, spiders, dancers, birds, strobe lights, silhouettes, strobe lights. The music goes quiet, you wait, it’s back, louder, another classic. People are hugging, dancing, cheering. It’s happening. Guy in the furry hat is dancing. Told you he’d be up. I hug him. I dance.

And that’s what happens. We dance and we don’t stop dancing. The group becomes one, and we keep going, this has to be the best cinematic experience of my life. How did this happen? I don’t know, but I don’t care, I don’t think, don’t think, it just happened. Enjoy it, and if you were there, keep enjoying it. It was special, and you were part of it, we were part of it. We were it.

– Nic Ryan

3 Responses to “Review: The Chemical Brothers’ ‘Don’t Think’ at FACT”

  1. I was there! It was fantastic! Up there with Greg Wilson’s Silent Disco at The Tate, or Warp Records at The Phil. The reviewer is bang on, the audience were part of the show.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.