Orbital – Brixton Academy – 14 December 2012

Me:  ‘Who’s reviewing this one then?’ 
Ctel: ‘You are.’
Me:  ‘Why me? I did the last one.’
Ctel: ‘Exactly. You can compare and contrast.’

Quick and painless, Ctel’s version of democracy. So some eight months after pummeling the Albert Hall, the Hartnoll brothers celebrate Christmas early by trying to blow the walls off the Academy in Brixton. And almost succeed.

As before, what we get is a mix of the old and the new, the set kickstarted with an emphatic ‘One Big Moment,’ the uncompromising but delightfully crisp sound promising much and then delivering more. The familiar yet ever beautiful intro of ‘Halcyon’ draws an ecstatic reaction from the packed venue, the sweeping synths and ethereal vocal gently rising and falling before capitulating to the stampeding beat, the crowd erupting into a blissful, euphoric surge of movement as befits such an epic tune. The same can be said of ‘Belfast’, the achingly haunting vocal looping, lifting and extending far into the track as the, by now, delerious crowd cheer, holler and gyrate in simpatico. Upping the ante further, Orbital throw out a truly demented ‘Wonky’ which, propelled along furiously by the verbals of Lady Leshurr, leads to a terrific break that borders the insane, the thunderous sounds permeating our bodies, the resulting physical vibration intense and almost overwhelming. The likes of ‘Impact,’ ‘Chime’ and ‘Beelzedub’ are duly offered up, as well as a frenetic interpretation of the Doctor Who theme that would, I suspect, have left Delia Derbyshire a tad unsettled.

Punchy is how Ctel describes their set, no messing about is how I would frame it. There’s no floating off into the ether on flights of fancy or prolongation of any kind, it’s hard and fast and no exceptions. The brothers themselves appear to enjoy themselves as much as their devotees, bobbing amidst the synths, arms periodically raised in salutation, their headlights swaying rhythmically from side to side like a cranked up Stevie Wonder. Backdropped by a dazzling display of graphics and screaming strobes, it’s a great spectacle of light and sound that cannot fail to impress. A couple of well deserved encores later and we make our way out into the chilly night air, ears ringing, bones creaking and satisfaction all round.

Set List

Time Becomes

One Big Moment


New France

Straight Sun





Are We Here?



Stringy Acid


Encore 2:

Where Is It Going?

And this was new to me, the combination of Are We Here with the Carpenters

~ by acidted on December 17, 2012.

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