The Manchester Review

Bluedot: Orbital, reviewed by David Hartley

Bluedot, Jodrell Bank Observatory, Lovell stage, July 8 2017.

With the blazing sun on its way down and the giddy full moon on its way up, the second night of Bluedot needed some suitable music-of-the-spheres to toast the glorious day. Fortunate then that techno pioneers Orbital had set aside their three year indefinite hiatus to pick up the iconic torch glasses again and set the happy field raving. Stepping out earlier than advertised, the Orbital brothers set the Lovell stage alive as soon as the first beat drops. Washed in a sudden glow of hyper visuals and sweeping lights, the duo reach out from their enormous pedestal like landed aliens strutting superiority. Not a foot is unmoving, no heads not bobbing, hands chopping the air in unabashed rave and it is hard not to imagine the Lovell telescope beaming the beats out to the emerging stars offering the gift of trance dance to intergalactic listeners.

The ninety minutes flash by in a seamless litany of Orbital classics, including the sweeping trip beats of Halycon, the dark growls of Satan, and a gorgeous version of Belfast where the screens bloom with brilliant daisies – welcome respite from the war, bombs and guns of the previous visuals. Their home-produced debut hit Chime gets a welcome airing in the encore, alongside the ominous meanderings of The Box, while the Lovell telescope wis lit in shifting hues to defy the creep of night.

But the highest of the highlights came at the peak of the main set when the bug-eyed boys broke their silence to welcome some buddies on stage. Enter the BBC Radiophonic Workshop, the true originals of electronic sound, who had played their own barnstorming set earlier in the day. Crowned with their own torch glasses, the seven strong ensemble launched into a stocking rendition of the Doctor Who theme tune, which has surely never had a more perfect setting for a blasting through time and space.

Euphoric doesn’t quite cover it. Such transcendence only Bluedot can achieve.

David Hartley

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