The Orb – Nottingham Rescue Rooms, Thursday May 15
It’s hard to believe that The Orb have been a going concern for the past twenty years. These days, the band is essentially a vehicle for founder member Alex Paterson, plus whatever collaborators he has happened to gather around him. On this tour, Alex’s sampling and live DJ-ing is augmented by Fil Lump on assorted computer gadgetry, Keith York on live drums, and an MC called Eric.
Given the music’s mostly instrumental nature, MC Eric had the easiest job of the night, his vocal duties mostly confined to asking us how we are feeling. (The answer for most of this 90% male crowd being, to varying degrees: enthusiastic, energetic and euphoric.) Eric’s big vocal moment was a decidedly unlikely cover of David Essex’s Rock On. It was one more element in a thoroughly eclectic stew, which extended well beyond the band’s trademark ambient dub. Snatches of rock, ska and systems music were woven into the mix, along with looped rap samples (you had to feel sorry for Eric) and even the opening credits for Star Trek.
The lengthy set peaked with old favourites Little Fluffy Clouds and The Blue Room, before a mostly DJ-based interlude gave way to a banging, techno-heavy finale.