If it was not for Orbital, then I probably would have continued to be a music snob with regard to dance music. When I first saw them back in 1994, they, however, blew me away, and since then they have not lost any of their stage ability. Orbital are an amazing live act to both watch and listen to. One of reasons Kraftwerk formed in the early 1970s was to inspire electronic music for years to come, and Orbital are a prime example of this.

I think even the most anti-dance music person would be hard pushed to say that an Orbital show is nothing less than enjoyable and uplifting. Even though they are enormous fun live, there is also a cleverness to Orbital's music, which is frankly lost on the dance music that is knocking around in the charts today. There many layers and textures swooping in and out and up and down behind those huge beats. Lots of unusual and sometimes funny samples are used, such as, for example, the Carpenters' 'Interplanatary Craft' on 'Are We Here?' (a staple live favourite and an epic dance tune without doubt). This could have fallen flat on its arse, but worked brilliantly, and was one of many highlights of the evening.

Other highlights included 'Sad But True' (with Alison Goldfrapp's beautiful shimmering backing vocals), 'Impact'(a classic rave anthem), and the amazing 'Halcyon' (which has one of the best bass lines ever, even if it is done on a computer). Of course an Orbital gig would never be complete without 'Chime', the classic that spawned their career, and which was played for fifteen minutes, and thrilling all the way through.

They also played five or six tracks from their new album 'Wonky', and these new tunes flowed perfectly alongside with all the old classics. The light show and visuals alone were also worth going to witness in themselves. A real effort is put in by Orbital and their crew to draw you into the experience.

Now twenty three years into thier career, Orbital are still to me the best live dance act you could have the pleasure in seeing. I don't actually recall not seeing one person dancing while they were on. My one complaint is that they did not play their version of the 'Doctor Who' theme, a live highlight normally, but with the back catalogue they can choose from I suppose you can't have it all. Orbital were absolutely fantastic.

The photographs that accompany this article were taken by Darren Aston.

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Commenting On: Academy, Liverpool, 8/4/2012 - Orbital

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