Belfast in Belfast (again)

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legspin
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Belfast in Belfast (again)

Post by legspin »

It really doesn't get any better.
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Re: Belfast in Belfast (again)

Post by legspin »

Not the most organised trip I have made to be honest. Indeed, almost a last minute decision. I had been prevaricating about this one for almost as long as I had known about it. Not that I wasn't sure I wanted to go but up until a few days beforehand I wasn't sure if I could physically get there because of work primarily. Coupled with that, I was finding it difficult to find anyone to go with (again). The lack of adverts about it in the Rep. of Ire. meant very few folk knew about it down here. As I have said elsewhere, we may watch a huge amount of British telly but radio is massively local and all the promotion on BBC radio was completely missed here.

Anyway.

Due to circumstances beyond my control I knew I wasn't going to see the Lads later this year when they play in Dun Laoghaire or get to any of the gigs in Britain. I was particularly gutted about the Dun Laoghaire gig. The worst possible date for me and I was feeling quite upset by the whole thing. The announcement of a gig in Norn Iron was like a prayer answered though co'z this one I might actually get to. There was still plenty of things that could get in the way but at least there was a chance I would get to see them once this year. The upshot of all the confusion though was I only bought tickets two days before the gig and even then I was still only 50% likely to get there, my reasoning being that as a supposed hardcore fan I should be at least doing everything I could to support them.
For once my best laid plans actually came to fruition (at this point I really must mention Walter and Brian, Walter for stepping up to bat for coming along as my wingman and Brian for letting me borrow him. Thank you so much gentlemen) but even then a few spanners on the way up almost derailed them.
We left Dublin on a truly beautiful day at about 6pm. I completely underestimated the time it would take to get out of the city centre. I haven't been in rush hour traffic out of the City on a Friday evening in a very long time and it was after seven before we hit open road. Things were going fine and we were making good time until just south of Dundalk I noticed a slight vibration from the car. I was doing ? mph so took note but continued on. Just as we crossed the border though it got worse and we were forced to pull over. We had a flat.
Fuck...
A record breaking pitstop later and the ? mph is now ?+!. Again, good time is made but as we hit Belfast we had only minutes to spare before the Lads went on and traffic was again the enemy. We made it down to the Titanic centre eventually, found a parking space and hopped out but as I had foolishly left all my sterling coins at home couldn't pay for parking. After a few minutes of cursing I decided to risk it and left.

Where the fuck is everyone going? There were streams of punters leaving and a slight panic set in that we had actually missed it. This ramped up considerably when we got to the ticket office and found it closed... . Please don't tell me we've missed it... . Desperately I knocked on the shutters of the other cabins and thankfully, the window went up on the guest-list window. After a frantic explanation of the events that had transpired on the way up and a glance at the e-mail confirmation on my phone that I had bought tickets (and the grime still on my hands from changing the wheel), they took pity on us and and gave us two of the comp tickets they had left to get us in.
Okay blood pressure, you can now return to normal ....

We had no sooner reached the stage area when the Lads were introduced. It had been split second timing but we had made it. As we had been so late we weren't able to get close to the front but where we found ourselves was comfortably crowded about maybe ten to fifteen rows back from the front. The Lads appeared with Phil doing the welcomes and thank yous for being there as usual and we were off.
Lush. Ah yes, much and all as I sometimes wish they could open with something else, the familiarity of Lush at the start of their sets is like an old friend. The staccato notes at the beginning immediately grab a hold and give me a shiver up my spine. It's that time to start throwing some shapes again it says and we do. Impact follows with in similar fashion and the crowd around us is now getting into things. I don't think I have ever heard two versions exactly the same at all their gigs I've been to and this trend continues.
I had yet to hear Phuk live before the first notes started to meld into the mix at the end of Impact and it didn't disappoint. I can see this becoming a firm live favourite as even the casual fans really did seem to be into it. Wonky was next. Much closer to the original version without the lyrics, everything seemed to be going well but about half way through I glanced at the stage and there seemed to be a bit of tension. As the end of Wonky approached this consternation seemed to be getting worse with frantic gestures being exchanged. Something's not right...
Ah yes, playing live. Sod's Law sometimes. Mind you, that's the worst glitch I've seen them have since the Olympia in '99. The one good thing was it allowed a welcome and timely breather....
After what seemed like forever, a few loud bangs from the PA. system and apologies from Phil we are back. I love Tiny Foldable Cities and to be frank it has me quite excited for the new album so it was great to also hear it live for the first time. it is these sorts of tunes that I like the best from the Lads. The big, bouncy dance numbers are all brilliant but the slightly more downtempo and contemplative tunes are for me what sets Orbital over all other electronic acts. It is quite hard to interpret mood and emotion without lyrics sometimes but I have never felt that with them. TFC is in that realm. Sparse and melancholy, it really strikes a chord with me.
I'm still not completely happy with the sound after the snafu though and after we've seen Mom at the weekend, Satan seems missing a bit of bottom end. Knobs are twiddled and faders pushed so it comes back a bit but there still seems to be slight issues with the sound for the rest of the gig. Maybe I'm being too much of a techie nerd and noticing things that weren't actually there but I like to think my ears are well enough trained at this point to notice these things. Not that I really cared though. I'm here to enjoy myself and not work.
I have expressed views on the continuation of Halcyon in the set before. I love it but combined with Lush and Impact it is a considerable amount of time in every gig to dedicate to the same album when so many other tunes could have a spin, especially when it's a festival gig and you're not The Cure. I'm not saying drop them all but a bit of input translation, output rotation perhaps? Yes, it's probably their best known tune after Chime but why stick with convention all the time (Sorry Badger).
However, apart from Belinda Jovi which always pisses me off (I would love to hear a clean version live) this was the best live version I have heard in a long time. One problem every band has, no matter who they are, is the temptation to speed up tunes when live. This wasn't. Going back to what I said earlier about the more downtempo tunes being the thing that marks the Lads out, the pace and timing of this Halcyon was wonderful. Halcyon is not a dance tune for me, it is far too nuanced and complex. Of course you can dance your arse of to it as I have done several times, but it is only when it's at it's original pacing and tempo you get the real sadness behind it. Gorgeous.

And of course if you are going down that route what's next is just as important. I'm never sure how many people anywhere are really familiar with the Lads but nearly everyone I know from Norn Iron has at least heard what's next and with good reason. I've never heard Phil actually announce a tune before but Belfast...... 'Nuff said. The place melts at the first notes and I can hear people around singing (sort of) along with the vocals. It really was quite special and as the tune winds down everyone is blissed out and dancing, like you do.
Phil takes the applause and chucks the love he's getting right back at us and then says, " Here's a cheeky new one...". And so we are introduced to The End is Nigh. This is the first time since my very first Orbital gig (and a DJ set they did before Wonky was released) that a completely brand new track to me is being played. All the new tracks since I have either heard on a record or since the advent of the internet, Youtube. So, quite the treat for me.
I won't lie, it took a few minutes to get it. The beginning wasn't the clearest and it took a few minutes to really become coherent to my ears but when it did I was well impressed with it. It's still a work in progress live and squeaked a bit if it turned around too quick but for a first listen it was great.
As was the announcement from Phil at the end that they had an extra 10 minutes. We had lost close to 5 with the fuck-up earlier and i was worried that it would eat into their time onstage. The cheer from the crowd from this swelled to a roar when Chime started. The place was hopping. Chime did as Chime does and you could feel the euphoria wash across the crowd as everyone started on the du-du-du-dudu-du and bounced along in time. It never ever gets old this feeling, and as much as Chime is not one of the really regular tunes of theirs I play, live it is truly unbeatable. On towards the end and Where is it Going? hoves into earshot. Still my least favourite track on the current rotation it but what is one going to do. No set will ever have you liking all the tunes the same. I do like it, just not a top track for me.

One more tune, one more tune......

Ok, go on then...

No matter where I have heard Dr? someone always starts laughing when the first throbs drop, I still do it myself sometimes. The familiarity of it is it's greatest strength. It is infectious because it is so well known and will make just about anyone bop along to it, so for a festival like this it is the perfect closer. I did think that live here it was lacking a fair bit of sub and could have been louder but I've heard other complaints about the sound and the overall volume level from other acts, so methinks a decibel meter was being held by a flunky with an official clipboard nearby. Ah well no matter. it did bring things to a cracking close and I don't think anyone went away disappointed. I know I didn't

The trip back south was a lot less eventful (thank fuck).

Again big shout out to Walter. I was only there coz of you Man.
Thank you to the three gorgeous ladies who danced beside me for the whole night.
Apologies to the couple who got caught in the cross-fire of me and Walter being massive nerds
Thanks to the staff at the guest-list for taking pity on us
And last but not least of course.

Thank you Lads yet again

E.&O.E.
Be Pure, Be Vigilant, BEHAVE.

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Kyblik
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Re: Belfast in Belfast (again)

Post by Kyblik »

too long, will read it on weekend :)

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Re: Belfast in Belfast (again)

Post by MindRubber »

Wow, sounds like you had a right ordeal getting to the gig, but obviously worth it! I've listened to the gig quite a few times this week and it sounded great. Not sure if it's down to the technical issues, the video quality or my imagination but several of the tunes had quite a different feel to the gigs in December.
PHUK was brand new at the time, but now has a lot more depth to it which makes all the difference - I can see this becoming a firm favourite.
Difficult to judge Wonky as that clearly had technical issues and didn't work as well.
TFC continues to get better and I love it for the same reasons you mention - it has me really excited about the new album.
Satan sounded great this time. There was a really thumping baseline at times but it felt better balanced with stripped back breakdowns so it wasn't the relentless 6 minute wall of noise it had been in more recent years - very nice.
Just like in December, I think the current version of Halcyon is the best I've ever heard; just beautiful and well paced...could only be improved with a an equipment malfunction during the bit we don't talk about! Belfast has a similar vibe and also sounds amazing.
The End is Nigh was interesting to hear and sounded a bit weird the first few times! Not sure I like the awkward early bits that sound like Maleficent during a heavy gym workout and just seems to prevent the tune from getting going at all, but the main melody is really nice once it kicks in.

As you say, there are quite a few of the same old tunes played at every recent gig. Understandable for festival gigs where you expect mostly a 'best of' set, but will be interesting to see what happens with the new album tour later this year. If you assume mostly new material there would be time to throw in maybe half a dozen old tunes. With such a great back catalogue what six tunes would you choose?

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legspin
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Re: Belfast in Belfast (again)

Post by legspin »

Yeah, I never seem to make it easy for myself. There is always some sort of drama in getting to a gig.
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Re: Belfast in Belfast (again)

Post by mikkelkasper »

Your post is like reading a whole movies script, interesting up to the point i have red it, had to jump to the last paragraph to see how the end was and i have to say that it was not what i expected, seems like you still had a good time man!! two ladies, that is quite enough to close the book on anyone.

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