Live Review: Orbital, Severed Heads

1 March 2019 | 11:50 am | Shaun Colnan

"Music, no matter the genre or BPM, is at its best when it is transformative and transportive."

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“Thank you for being kind to the elderly,” the singer of opening act, Severed Heads, said. Then, in a play school presenter-esque voice, he asked, “Who's good at anatomy? You're not.” A hectic electro beat ensued, accompanied by a Picasso-like body projected on the big screen.

Pink lights buzzed and whirred about the room and the body was severed into thousands of rainbow fragments. The Severed Heads’ set moved from intense rhythms and spectacular visuals to moments of farcical interjections; from techno to electro and back again.

A series of cutlery stampeded across the screen and although the room was beginning to fill, the space between crowd members was palpable.

Orbital arrived, permeating the darkness with their trademark otherworldly head torches. Green lights lapped the Enmore Theatre, as their recent song, There Will Come A Time (We Will Die Remix), featuring samples from scientist Brian Cox, exploded in our ear drums.

The transcendental and existential trance track moved into a techno beat which sent the crowd wild. The brothers, Phil and Paul Hartnoll, were back. Their music, which in many ways seemed of a time and place - the time, the '90s; the place, London -  found new relevance.

Tracks like PHUK were a bridge between the '90s rave scene and the current tense political landscape of Brexit and global troubles. A break beat wowed revellers and sent them soaring as high as the geometric patterns thrust against the ornate ceiling.

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From there the set moved into a decidedly heavier, dance-inducing tone, with many transported back to the heyday of rave. The simple melodic hooks were overlaid with mind-bending synth patterns and overwhelming drum sounds.

Music, no matter the genre or BPM, is at its best when it is transformative and transportive. This musical duo certainly possessed that essence, unifying the crowd in a whirlwind of nostalgic joy.

When the British brothers made their way off stage, it wasn't long before the crowd coaxed them back out for the classic encore of Doctor?. The chimes were just the beginning of a fantastic finale to a highly sentimental night for some; a night to travel back to the days of rave which youngsters can only dream of. The dream was indeed alive for all at the Enmore.