Orbital @ O2 Academy, 7 April

Live Review by Timothy McQuillian | 11 Apr 2012
  • Orbital

As suggested in their recent interview with The Skinny, Orbital are keen not to lean on their old hits in the live settings, but also to not disappoint the 'old skool' masses with excessive experimentation. It seems that in deciding the tour setlist the Hartnoll brothers have chosen to fire through Wonky's softer and melodic material at the start before plunging into harder familiar territory. Celebrated producer Mark 'Flood' Ellis's involvement on the new album is heavily sensed in live tracks such as Silent Sun, the melody of which draws comparisons with Depeche Mode.


A searing synth breakdown mid-set introduces the controversially divisive Beelzedub, a hardlined remix of 1991's malevolent Butthole Surfers-sampling techno anthem Satan. The original version's absence in the setlist is painfully noticeable, but this new dangerous venture effectively ignites the crowd's passion to dance. The fans have clearly been waiting Orbital's whole career for the duo to push that envelope and unleash these drilly snare rolls. The encore encourages a sea of writhing bodies madly convulsing to Chime Crime 303 acid squelches and the buzzing aggression of Where Is It Going?.


There's still a heavy presence of nostalgia throughout this current tour set; the sight of so many glassy-eyed 'never say die' ravers smiling, hugging and leaving their worries at the door during Belfast, and the now staple Bon Jovi/Belinda Carlisle mashup midway into Halcyon (to which every member of the audience sings along to) is a reminder that Orbital are still very much about a time and place.