This week, drum and bass pioneer Goldie has been in Brighton with the hugely talented Heritage Orchestra Ensemble, playing to a devoted audience, in the gilt and red velvet lined main room at the Dome.

He’s also been in the news because he’s due to stand trial for punching a bouncer at Glastonbury Festival. Thus juxtaposition of events is typical of Goldie, who as well as shaping a whole musical culture in the nineties, has played a Bond villain, received an MBE, starred on Eastenders and dated Bjork. Say what you like about him: he’s not predictable.

The nationwide tour with The Heritage Orchestra Ensemble is to promote his latest album, The Journeyman. The musicians took to the stage in understated black, whilst Goldie bounded to the centre in ripped jeans and a white tee-shirt, gold chains festooning his neck, and gleefully picked up a tambourine.

At first, it seemed like it could be a slightly awkward evening with Goldie playing Bez, rattling a cowbell and japing around in front of the skilled musicians. Thankfully, after a couple of songs, the show ramped up. Goldie’s energy was clear throughout, and his admiration for the musicians, especially guest vocalist Natalie Duncan, was evident. He referred to her as his muse and gazed so fondly at her, she could have been his daughter.

In fact, her vocal contributions were a highlight of the night, rich and soulful, and equally suited to both the slower songs and his heavy, bass-laden classics such as Inner City Life. 

The whole production was smooth, with a stunning light show and tight performances from The Heritage Orchestra Ensemble, particularly Adam Betts in drums. A journey from the beginning of Goldie’s discography right to the latest release, this show was warm, endearing and unexpectedly intimate. What he’ll do next is anyone’s guess, but we hope it shares it.

Jessica Marshall McHattie