Orbital At The Apollo

The Hartnoll brothers, re-united again, played Manchester on Friday night. Just before kick off I was outside the Apollo trying to shift a spare ticket- along with half a dozen other middle aged men also trying to sell spares. ‘Dad techno ticket to sell’ someone shouted. Inside, having been unsuccessful in selling the spare, it was pretty rammed despite the spare ticket situation. Round the fringes of the Apollo standing area were a few hardy souls who looked like they’d taken an E in 1989 and never stopped but largely it was middle aged mums and dads on a night out.

Orbital appeared on a podium on top of the stage making them a good 10 feet above the usual stage height, with films and images projected above them, below them and behind them. A lattice of mini-laser beams mid-set caused cheers. Musically it’s a greatest hits set plus a few new ones, perfectly paced, the songs segueing into one another. Opening with Lush 3 and then straight into Impact (The Earth Is Burning) is a statement of intent. Orbital are not going to spend long warming you up- the kickdrum started about 20 seconds in and didn’t really let up. From the off the bass was loud- I could feel my jeans and coat vibrating. Phil and Paul are both wearing the trademark light-up glasses and frequently waving their hands in the air and doing the pointing-fingers dance, clearly enjoying themselves.

They chuck in 2017’s Copenhagen early on and premier two other new ones (Phuk and Tiny Foldable Cities) but the main joy is in hearing their classic tracks at volume in front of an appreciative crowd- The Girl With The Sun In Her Head, Satan, a beautiful Halcyon and set closer Belfast. The rock trappings of the encore are still with us- they thank us, go off and we await their return. And when they return we are given The Box, a slightly too short Chime and Where Is It Going? All over by 11.00 pm. Babysitters get double after midnight.

Belfast

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