The Orb: East Village Arts Club, Liverpool


The Orb live review EVAC
The Orb revisit the glorious days of early 90s dance, Getintothis’ Michael Booth is left beaming.

As a sunny day drew to a close on the banks of the Mersey who better to roll up in town than seasoned chillmeisters The Orb, who played a late set at the East Village Art Club.
For those of a certain age it’s sobering to contemplate the passage of over a quarter of a century since The Orb‘s inception, a milestone which last year heralded a retrospective release and tour celebrating their most influential tracks.
Original custodian Jimmy Cauty of KLF fame, exited to pursue other mischief in the fledgling days, paving the way for Thomas Fehlmann to join fellow founder member Alex Paterson, in 1995.
The Orb are cited as the creators of Ambient House and their indelible influence can be heard on so much of the latter 90s electronica. Tonight’s performance ramped up the stomping house beat which very quickly set the eardrums itching. As the place started bouncing it was clear this would be The Orb at their least sedate.
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The Orb live at East Village Arts Club
The set list remained largely faithful to the 25th Anniversary tour with Spanish Castles proving to be welcome opener, gathering up the crowd in it’s open arms. As its closing strains bled into the expansive Plateau the large visual backdrop blasted forth the space themed imagery we’ve come to associate so closely with the band.
Outlands took us in a more ominous direction with its choppy synth pads and whirling sequencers meshing with an accelerated video montage featuring amongst other things the creepiest of scarecrows grimacing to camera. There were no live singers at the gig so the duo relied heavily on vinyl at the mixing deck to provide the vocals on tracks like Blue Room, its euphoric tones working the crowd like a shaman before Toxygene elevated the mood even further.
With the chime of the midnight hour the decibel meter showed no sign of faltering. Towers, Waltz and UF ORB all maintained the blissed out sway of the congregation. Original Acid House veterans were most certainly making their presence felt but they were in truth outnumbered by a younger mob of newcomers to the scene which gives some indication as to the breadth of The Orb‘s continued influence.
Loving You kept the feel good vibes flowing in the room as did Perpetual Dawn with its easy, laid back synth motif. These are the kind of tracks which helped define The Orb as the post-party come down act of choice for the Acid House scene.
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The Orb live at East Village Arts Club
Assassin proved to be one of the nights most hypnotic tracks, moving to attack speed with a pulsating quagmire of electronic rhythms which left the crowd suitably reinvigorated for the play out track. What else could it be but Fluffy Clouds, imploring us to the heavens and sending everyone away with a head full of ether.
Throughout the two hour set the enthusiasm of Messrs. Paterson and Fehlmann never waned and it was truly infectious to see them bouncing off each other and being consumed by their own creations. It was a night which I’m sure did nothing to help the plight of tinnitus sufferers but the subsequent ringing in the ears was merely the reverberation of a great night. Yes folks, the smiley yellow face is alive and well.
Pictures by Getintothis‘ Ian Gamester
Further reading on Getintothis:
Liverpool’s gig calendar 2014: Guide to essential gigs
Liverpool Sound City 2014: Getintothis presents Jon Hopkins and stellar Merseyside show at Nation
Liverpool Psych Fest 2014 make first headline announcements
Fatboy Slim: East Village Arts Club, Liverpool – picture gallery