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
TICKETS: £15 approx

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