The Trades in Heb­den Bridge I decid­ed would be the right place to expe­ri­ence The Orb for their 25th Anniver­sary Show. It felt appro­pri­ate to be some­where inti­mate and imme­di­ate, friend­ly and just a bit off the wall. The Orb are sched­uled to play near me at The Forum in Ken­tish Town, which is a good place to see bands but I don’t think it’s where I want to be for a sweaty dance night. That The Orb are cel­e­brat­ing their 25th seems a sober­ing thought  – how could it be that those sweet ambi­ent beats that feel so recent, actu­al­ly came into being in the late 80s – a dif­fer­ent cen­tu­ry and what feels like a dif­fer­ent life­time away.

The Heb­den audi­ence are lov­ing it from the arrival on stage of Alex Pater­son and Thomas Fehlmann. It proved to be a very dan­cy evening indeed, as we were tak­en on a psy­che­del­ic ride from those ear­ly 90s dance days. The crowd are nice­ly mixed crowd age-wise, notice­ably more men, and good to see quite a few younger people.

The visu­als are hyp­not­ic and beau­ti­ful. The rip­pling bass lines shift smooth­ly and almost imper­cep­ti­bly, pulling you into the music. You are drawn in so far that it’s almost like a rude awak­en­ing when a num­ber comes to a close. The Orb have gone through some dif­fer­ent styles, but a chilled, ambi­ent qual­i­ty is the over­all flavour for this evening, for exam­ple in Lov­ing You, where the Min­nie Riper­ton sam­ple keeps the vocals at an under­stat­ed lev­el. And when we final­ly reach Lit­tle Fluffy Clouds, I’m wish­ing they would just car­ry on till dawn.

The Orb at The Trades, Hebden Bridge

There’s a uni­ver­sal­i­ty to the The Orb’s feel-good sound which makes them seem as rel­e­vant in today’s more hard-edged elec­tron­ic music times. Alto­geth­er, a great night.

Check out this superb cloud­cast by Thomas Fehlmann

Last year, I spent New Year’s Eve at The Trades for the spec­tac­u­lar Men­tal Elf. Click here.


WHO: The Orb
WHEN: Nov 15, 2013
WHERE: The Trades, Heb­den Bridge

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