The Chemical Brothers are a British electronic music duo Tom Rowlands and Ed Simons (full names Thomas Owen Mostyn Rowlands and Edmund John Simons — occasionally referred to as Chemical Tom and Chemical Ed). Known for their live sets, they are pioneers of the big beat electronic dance genre which achieved mainstream popularity in the 1990s.
The Chemical Brothers are credited as being one of the few truly arena-sized electronic acts. Their live acts comprise large screens displaying psychedelic images, strobe lights and lasers that project over the crowd. There has been speculation over how much of their live gigs are pre-recorded, although they insist (on their official website FAQ) that they have a mere outline of track order and the rest is mixed live. This would seem to be confirmed by concertgoers who have seen gigs on consecutive nights and have posted notable differences between the sets played.
The Brothers have also played at many major festivals, from Glastonbury to the Reading, the HFStival, and Leeds festival. They currently hold the record for most gigs performed in a year at the Brixton Academy. The brothers have infamously despite their high status in the mainstream, never appeared on Top of the Pops, with the use of music videos to replace the performance, sometimes accompanied by a video apologising for their absence. In 1999 a live US tour video of "Hey Boy, Hey Girl" was shown, even though the song was not in the top 40 at the time, and also released other singles before then at the time.
In addition to performing their own music they also hold regular DJ nights where they mix other artist's tracks (in the style of Brothers Gonna Work It Out).
As with their recorded albums The Chemical Brothers are well known for their incorporation of guest vocalists into their live performances. Notable appearances in recent gigs have included Bernard Sumner of New Order, who sang on the original "Out of Control", Wayne Coyne of The Flaming Lips, and Tim Burgess.
The duo also played at the launch event for the Wii video game console.