The Orb - Glasgow SWG3, 28th November 2015

The Orb – Glasgow SWG3, 28th November 2015

They have always been a more formidably aggressive proposition live than their sometimes sedate discography might suggest and by the end of this near-enough two-hour performance by The Orb, the sound system is fair rattling. The little fluffy crowd is not let off lightly, that’s for sure.

And why not? It’s a warehouse after all and harks back to acid house of yore. As does the Elvis-sampling opener ‘Elvis is on the Radio, Steel Guitar in My Soul‘ from the KLF‘s seminal ‘Chill Out‘ album. A real thrill hearing that live and a reminder of the close relationship and sometimes interchangeability of members between the two groups – in the early days at least.

The present incarnation consists of Dr Alex Paterson and Thomas Fehlmann and shows relative staying power. The elixir of late nights in loud rooms hopefully rubbing off on us tonight as that gentle lilting opener gives way to progressively heavier and heavier grooves.

What follows from the increasingly animated duo poring over their laptops and boxes of tricks in the blue-strobed gloom is a set of building intensity. Newly invigorated with the excellent ‘Moonbuilding 2703 AD’ out on Kompakt Records this year, they certainly look like they’re enjoying themselves. It may just be two blokes in front of some projections but by the time we march gaily past what appears to be the designated end time and keep going, and going, and going, who would want to be anywhere else? It’s a seamless blend of squelches, beeps and ambient atmospherics with, at times, alarmingly grippy percussion underpinning it all.

Naming tracks is well nigh impossible, but then that always was one of the main delights and revolutions of acid house culture. Dancing about in the dark is the order of the day. Saying that, close to the end an extended version of ‘Little Fluffy Clouds‘ does appear. Be rude not to after all. Taking in several of the versions of that tune, its emotive opening Morricone harmonica sample receives the cheers befitting a bona fide classic. A delight and worthy of admission on its own.

Long set, diversions down many avenues – mutated Chic-type guitar riff with taut Kevin Saunderson piano anyone? – and a most pleasurable evening in the presence of an outward-looking but still quintessentially English band. “I want a slice of rhubarb tart” states the vocal forcing its way through the layers of dubby noise at one point. But for the weather, that would seem an entirely apt addition.

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.