Review: Fatboy Slim at The New Adelphi Club, Hull.

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A LITTLE before 9.30pm, in a venue no bigger than a modestly-sized living room, Norman Cook took a step back to where it all began.

The man responsible for bringing the biggest of beats to stages around the world had decided to honour the place where it all started way back in the 1980s.

Cook’s alter-ego, Fatboy Slim, has become one of the biggest names in dance music since arriving nearly a quarter of a century ago in 1996 at the height of Britpop, but the New Aldephi Club is where he first began honing his musical art with the beloved indie band, The Housemartins.

And to celebrate the 35thbirthday of the venue that sits at the end of a row of a terraced houses in a side street in Hull, he performed perhaps Yorkshire’s most eagerly-anticipated gig of the year.

The strains of one of his biggest hits, Praise You, began a set that married the Big Beat phenomenon that Fatboy Slim pioneered along with a trawl through Cook’s eclectic record collection.

There can be few DJs who can pull off a 130-minute set that included sampling Apache by the Incredible Bongo Band, Groove Is In The Heart by Deee-Lite and the famous refrains of The Clash’s Rock the Casbah.

But the beauty of any Fatboy Slim gig is just how engaging Cook actually is with his audience.

Whether it is high-fiving the front row of the crowd, or letting off a klaxon amid the ebb and flow of the unrelenting dance mix, a broad smile never seemed to leave his face.

The performance was not without minor glitches – a blown fuse halfway through the set meant there was a frantic bid to get the power back up and running.

But the crowd embraced the two-minute lull in electronica with an impromptu acapella version of The Housemartins’ Caravan of Love, bringing one of the broadest grins of the evening to Cook’s face.

There can be no denying that for all the super-gigs around the globe, this was an evening that meant so much to him.

While the crowd had been warned that there was a strict no photos policy for the gig, Cook repeatedly filmed clips of the crowd on his iPhone to ensure that the night was not simply left as a memory.

The gig climaxed with one of Fatboy Slim’s biggest hits, Rockafeller Skank, being seamlessly mixed with The Rolling Stones’ Satisfaction, before Cook revisited Praise You to end the set.

Since Paul Jackson opened the venue in October 1984, more than 30,000 bands have graced the stage of the New Adelphi Club, entertaining more than a million punters in a venue with a capacity of just 200.

Ahead of the gig, Cook had himself admitted that it was going to be emotional, returning to the tiny musical institution where The Housemartins paid a mere £5 for a rehearsal way back in 1984.

As those privileged enough to witness his homecoming left in a haze of sweat, smiles and enduring memories of one of the most memorable nights that the Adelphi has seen in its long history, the outside of the building was illuminated with the title of Fatboy Slim’s second album, You’ve Come A Long Way, Baby.

There can be no denying that he most definitely has, with a journey that has seen him perform in some of the biggest arenas in the world.

But the night at the Adelphi will be one that remains with Cook for as long as he takes to the stage.