Last night Fatboy Slim turned his Wednesday night audience at New York’s Terminal 5 into a pack of Saturday night revelers. It was one of his two U.S. dates this tour, but it may also be his last: Norman Cook recently said he was renouncing his Fatboy Slim moniker, a name that produced some of the most compelling dance floor hits of the Nineties. Last month Cook as the Brighton Port Authority (BPA) released We’re Going to Need a Bigger Boat — an album that features legendary long-lost collaborations with David Byrne, Martha Wainwright, Dizzee Rascal and Iggy Pop. (Read more about the BPA here.)
Cook had only one guise — superstar DJ — last night as he stood barefoot, drinking Red Bull on a small stage surrounded by his computer and turntables. Bizarre and intense visuals were projected behind him, and he periodically blared an air horn into the crowd. Cook kept the songs flowing, segueing one loud hit into another, including remixes of some popular songs. He played a bass heavy remix of the Gorillaz’s “Feel Good Inc.” and when he broke out Vandalism’s remix of H Two O’s “What’s it Gonna Be” the audience began to look like it was standing on top of an avalanche, leaping up and down.
Cook began the show with a tease of one of his biggest singles, “Praise You” and went on to play stampeding versions of other mega-hits: “The Rockafellar Skank,” “Weapon of Choice,” “Star 69,” “The Renegade Master” and House of Pain’s “Jump Around.” The most anthemic part of the show arrived when he played the BPA’s new single, “He’s Frank” featuring Iggy Pop. It’s an upbeat track driven by horns and a Stonsey guitar riff that Pop drawls over with his dirty voice. Onstage, Cook turned the track into lengthy dance experience. The bluesy feel of the song was replaced with deafening electronic beats and Pop’s voice was warped into contortions. On the screen was a projection of a shirtless Pop against a white background, staring at the audience and mouthing the lyrics.
Towards the end of the show the venue looked like a battlefield. Most were covered in sweat and many fans had their shirts off. Cook left his small stage to take a bow before returning to his tables to finish the show as he’d started it: by sampling the grooving gospel piano intro to “Praise You.” The audience got itself ready for one final dance, and then Cook walked offstage. People smiled, expecting him to come back for a pumping encore. The yelling and applause began but Cook didn’t come out. The lights turned on, the tech guys came onstage, and the sample played out to its end.