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Live Review: Orbital, Rebel Yell

28 February 2019 | 1:22 pm | Jake Sun

"[Orbital's] decision to reunite was not in vain."

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Brisbane's Rebel Yell courses a trajectory mapped by her recent REWORKS EP, hitting us with a packed arsenal of heavy beats throughout tonight's DJ set. Though dwarfed by the massive stage production being prepared centrestage, she doesn't let that get in the way and delivers a good warm-up for the many eager dancers around the room.

It's been nine years since Orbital first played Brisbane at the Family Nightclub, delivering a set that has since become the stuff of legend. They were quick to return to our stages, in support of their excellent Wonky album, before then breaking up again in 2014. But luckily for electronic music fans the world over, the brothers Hartnoll have a hard time staying quit.

Their return with new album Monsters Exist, seems less a result of overcoming idle hands than a call to arms. From their very beginnings, Orbital have been revolutionary, and tonight's set reminds us that the politics of technology and human evolution have always been at the core of electronic music's manifesto.

The brothers are met with elation as they step out behind the controls of what looks like a mini studio of gear elevated amid a wonderland of LED screens. Their gobsmacking audiovisual production comes to life with Brian Cox's There Will Come A Time monologue, and, with the line, "How long do you want the human race to survive?" looping, it becomes more than explicit that Orbital's return mission is to inspire human agency, rather than indulging in a mere nostalgia trip.

Monsters Exist, There Will Come A Time (We Will Die Remix), Impact (The Earth is Burning), and PHUK (Please Help United Kingdom) are lined up side by side like a chorus of sirens. They then give us a breather of sorts with the joyous Wonky and the playful Tiny Foldable Cities, before things get serious with an explosive version of Satan that sees a torrent of red, white, and blue images flood the screens. There's a real sense of something special happening throughout the entirety of the set. From front to back bodies respond ecstatically to both old and new, with many looking like they haven't danced this hard in a long time. With a closing run that includes Halcyon + On + On and Belfast, Orbital push the floor to go that little bit harder still.

The End is Nigh, Doctor? and Chime deliver more sparks for the encore, but it's Wonky closer Where Is It Going? that really proves their decision to reunite was not in vain. Orbital step back out for a second encore and explode into an absolutely manic version of Lush 3, which completely sets the packed-out Triffid ablaze and brings things home as the uncontested highlight of the night. 

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