Thursday night, history visited Decibel Festival. UK electronic pioneers Orbital came to the Paramount Theatre and dazzled us with their game-changing sound. Even so many years after their debut, Orbital can still tear the roof off. Between the bonkers light show and their waves and waves of sound, the Halcyonic showcase was one of the best electronic shows the Paramount has seen in some time.
Paul Chambers began the night with an upbeat and fun set of dance music, blending house, techno, and trance, into a nearly continuous hour long set. When he started, the turnout on the floor of Paramount was still building, but despite the small numbers, those present dancing and fist-pumped and jammed along. It’s no challenge to see that he is on the rise in Belgium, both with his own tunes and remixes of numerous different artists. Without a doubt, Paul Chambers was the perfect pick to set the stage for Orbital’s entrance.
Orbital have been doing this for a while. They paved the way for much of modern electronic music back in the 90s, and since then, have continue to crank out excellent albums and throw awesome shows. Their visit Thursday night was no exception to this. Lights went down and sound filled the hall. From off stage left, you could see two lights shining and bouncing around, becoming brighter as seconds passed. Paul and Phil Hartnoll came out with their trademark LED spy lights strapped to their heads. The crowd went wild as they began their magic show, flipping switches and turning knobs and doing all sorts of mad scientist work. Three massive light screens blinded everyone with visual interpretation of their sound. If that wasn’t enough, the additional light show (a mixture of strobes, small lasers, whatnot) was enough in and of itself. But throughout, the brightest lights on stage came from the bands’ headlamps. As the bounced and danced along to their tunes, these lights were a small reminder of what Orbital has brought to the table all these years. The audience was dancing too, obviously. The age mixture was delightful – ranging from high school to pushing 50, everyone was dancing. It didn’t matter that everyone didn’t know all the songs. It didn’t matter that every beat wasn’t sped up to 120 BPM. The crowd could feel the power and the passion that Orbital carried sincerely through the band’s presence and visible love for their work. All in all, Orbital were a delightful and refreshing addition to Decibel Festival’s events.