Creamfields Abu Dhabi headliners Calvin Harris and The Prodigy represent different generations of dance music.
Calvin Harris versus The Prodigy
Career: Real name Adam Richard Wiles, the Scottish DJ and producer has been eagerly sought by pop stars including Rihanna, Pitbull, Chris Brown and Mary J Blige. Harris began his career producing bedroom demos in 1999 before being discovered on MySpace and snapped up with a record deal in 2006. A year later he released his debut, the electroclash inspired I Created Disco and built on the success with the 2008 follow up Ready for the Weekend. However, it was last year’s 18 Months where he truly hit the big time with up to eight singles released from the album.
Reach: The man is everywhere at the moment with a large catalogue of radio hits and headlining most of the major dance festivals. His profile grew so big that in June, Forbes magazine declared him this year’s highest-earning DJ, having grossed more than US$46 million (Dh168 million) over the past 12 months.
Hits: 18 Songs alone saw 25 million singles copies sold that was led by his Rihanna collaboration We Found Love and his hook-up with Ellie Goulding, I Need Your Love. Even his scrappier first single, Acceptable in the 80s, can be found spinning on the radio.
Weaknesses: Some fans are beginning to pine for “old Calvin”. The quirky sounds of the past have made way for full-bodied anthemic productions that end up sounding indiscernible from each other when performed live. Don’t call Harris a sell-out, though, the last fan who did that during a concert faced a brutal tongue-lashing from the DJ.
Final words: “I love playing live,” Harris told the BBC. “The thing I enjoy about playing live is playing new songs that you suspect might go off.”
Career: Made up of the producer Liam Howlett and the vocalists Keith Flint and Maxim Reality, the veterans played an influential role in bringing rave and dance music to new ears. Their career peak remains their thrilling third album The Fat of the Land. The 1997 release is credited as a modern-day classic and crossed over to appeal to the normally dance-averse rock community. While the last two albums Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned (2004) and Invaders Must Die (2009) found them maintaining their commercial success, the innovative spirit began to dim and be replaced by productions recalling past hits or ones that were depressingly generic.
Reach: Over the course of five albums, The Prodigy exhibit a cyclone of edgy sounds including hard-core techno, rock, punk and industrial music. The result has them commanding a large following among pop, rock and dance communities. The group are equally at home headlining dance and rock festivals.
Hits: The Prodigy’s albums may have become increasingly flabby but they still know how to pick their singles. From 1994’s creepy Voodoo People and punkish energy of 1996’s Firestarter to the more vintage big beat edge of 2009’s Warrior’s Dance, The Prodigy’s material is meant to be played loud at skull-crushing volumes.
Weaknesses: Unlike Susan Boyle, who just cancelled her Friday concert, the trio (augmented by a drummer and guitarist on stage) are constant road hounds and are known for explosive sets. That said, the absence of new material has had them peddling out the same greatest hits sets for nearly four years. Those who saw them abroad in the past three years would not miss much in terms of the set list.
Final words: “We love touring and doing gigs, that’s why we make music,” says Liam Howlett. “It’s the one thing that can’t be downloaded, that feeling of playing it live and seeing people’s reactions to the music.”
• Calvin Harris and The Prodigy are performing at Creamfields Abu Dhabi on Friday at the du Arena, Yas Island. They take to the stage at 11.45pm and 1.30am respectively . Tickets cost from Dh275 from www.ticketmaster.ae or by calling 800 (86 823)