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Gig Review: The Orb

Rick Thompson, Stu North, Buzz Bury (aka The Music Brothers) went along to see electronic music legends The Orb as they brought their stadium sound to Blackpool’s intimate music venue, Bootleg.

Three eager music enthusiasts headed into town, filled with anticipation and curiosity to experience the renowned sound of The Orb in an intimate venue. As we entered Bootleg Social, we were greeted by soothing reggae vibes, setting a welcoming tone for the evening.

The night commenced with Violeta Vicci, whose unique approach to playing and singing into her instrument possibly took the growing crowd in an unexpected direction but still captivated most of the audience.

Melodies sitting loosely on top of underlying drones and vocal harmonies almost stopped time at points. The performance felt very personal, a direct ‘one-on-one’ communication between listener and performer. With immersive layers of violin loops and haunting vocals, she transported us on expansive journeys through visuals of waterfalls, mountains, and visions of the Swiss Alps. Some of the intimacy was lost when she turned her attention towards remixes and beats. Her performance built to climactic moments, serving as a fitting precursor to the main event.

The Orb proved that they ‘still got it’, maintaining their signature sound while infusing it with refreshing twists.

Then, The Orb took the stage, transitioning from grand stadium performances to the intimate setting of Bootleg Social. Led by Alex Paterson (Dr. LX) and Michael Rendall, the room steadily filled with a mix of familiar faces, seasoned music veterans and new acquaintances, creating an atmosphere of camaraderie and anticipation. In contrast to the opening of the evening, The Orb fostered that feeling of togetherness and communal awe that is often only experienced on the dance floor.

Despite the weather outside, the vibe inside remained undampened. The Orb proved that they ‘still got it’, maintaining their signature sound while infusing it with refreshing twists. Seamlessly blending beloved classics with newer material, they delivered an organic and dynamic performance. While the volume generally kept our ears intact, the sub bass vibration in the chest bone made us feel at home.

Dr. LX and Rendall skilfully navigated their machines, engaging in clever musical conversations that took us on a journey from deep and dubby styles to the outer reaches of surreal delirium. It was a performance full of energy, yet the heavy bass and effects gave it a laid back almost relaxed vibe. Still bringing us back down to earth with temperate tempos, ensuring a satisfying musical experience for all in attendance.

The gig reminded some of us that electronic music is experienced differently through a sound system than it is at home or through headphones. There is something about being with other people on the dance floor that is never quite captured at lower volumes and alone.

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