It’s always wise to leave something in the tank for the final day of any festival – and that’s especially the case with Mad Cool Festival 2023, with organisers offering their punters a high-energy choice of festival closer between Jamie xx or The Prodigy. Those who opt for the latter on the Madrid Is Life stage would’ve been best advised to limber up beforehand; indeed, NME spots a couple going through some yoga practices before Liam Howlett, Maxim and the fearsome Prodigy live band take to the stage.

Opening with ‘Breathe’ and a demand from relentless ringmaster Maxim to “bring the fucking noise!”, the pace doesn’t let up: ‘Omen’ is reassuringly face-melting, while live drummer Leo Crabtree’s piercing tom drum reverberates around the festival site during ‘Voodoo People’ – a track that still sounds as scintillating as it no doubt did upon its original release in 1994.


A fitting visual tribute to late Prodigy frontman Keith Flint appears on the giant screens that flank the stage during a rendition of the band’s genuinely iconic ‘Firestarter’, with Flint’s warped vocal sample interweaving with the live instrumentation. Maxim continues to carry the fire in Flint’s memory, though, with the vocalist instinctively commanding the various circle and mosh pits that emerge throughout the set.

“All my fucking warriors at the front representing,” he addresses the front row before ‘Their Law’. “All my Prodigy people in Spain: this shit is for fucking life.” The roar which greets this directive just goes to show that there are plenty of devotees in the Mad Cool crowd.

It all makes for a truly breathless experience even with third day festival fatigue setting in. A closing quartet of ‘Smack My Bitch Up’, ‘Take Me To The Hospital’, ‘Invaders Must Die’, ‘We Live Forever’ and ‘Out Of Space’ threatens to finish the exhausted Mad Cool faithful off for good – if they weren’t having so much fun, that is.

The Prodigy played:

‘Wild Frontier’
‘Light Up the Sky’
‘Everybody in the Place’
‘Voodoo People’
‘No Good (Start the Dance)’
‘Their Law’
‘Omen’ (Reprise)
‘Get Your Fight On’
‘Need Some1’
‘Smack My Bitch Up’
‘Take Me to the Hospital’
‘Invaders Must Die’
‘We Live Forever’
‘Out of Space’

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