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Review: Orbital/O2 Academy

Tom Palmer and a rave crowd party like it's 1994. Pictures: Darren Aston

Published on April 9th 2012.

Review: Orbital/O2 Academy

I THINK what I should firstly say about Orbital is that if it wasn't for them, then I probably would have continued to be a snob regarding dance music, but after seeing them live, as I did back in 1994, they blew me away..... and it's fantastic to see that they have not lost that ability. 

There's is a cleverness to Orbital's music, which
is, frankly, lost on the dance music knocking
around in the charts today

Orbital are an amazing live act to watch, and to listen to. One of many reasons Kraftwerk formed back in the 1970s was to inspire electronic music for years to come, and Orbital are a prime example of this.

Even the most anti-dance-music person would be hard pushed to argue that Orbital's show remains nothing less than exhilarating and uplifting, two boxes well and truly ticked on Saturday night at Liverpool's O2 Academy. 

Dsc_0358-1KLoud, pumping and fun to witness live, there's is also a cleverness to Orbital's music, which is, frankly, lost on the dance music knocking around in the charts today. Layers and textures, swooping in and out, and up and down behind those huge beats. Lots of unusual and, sometimes, downright funny samples are used, such the Carpenters' Interplanetary Craft in Are We Here? (a staple live favourite, an epic dance tune without doubt). This could have fell flat on its arse, but worked brilliantly, just one of many highlights of the evening.

Others were Sad But True (with Alison Goldfrapp's beautiful, shimmering backing vocals), Impact (a classic rave anthem), and the amazing Halcyon (one of the best bass lines ever). 

Of course an Orbital gig would never be complete without the classic that spawned their career, Chime, played for about 15 minutes here with no let up in its excitement.

You have to accept Orbital for what they are, and that is an electronic act, not a band as such. After that, any music fan with half a brain cell should be able to revel in the great big tunes that the brothers Hartnoll produce. 

Also worth pointing out is the five or six new tracks that they played from the new album Wonky, which sat shoulder to shoulder with all the classics and flowed perfectly. The light show and visuals are worth going along for alone - a real effort from Orbital and crew to draw you into the experience.



On a night when I don't actually recall seeing a single person standing still, the only let-down, for me, was that Orbital omitted their version of Doctor Who from the set list, a live high point made at Glastonbury 2010. But with the back catalogue they can choose from, you can't have it all.

Orbital, you were technotastic.

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