Until yesterday, I've never had the opportunity to see Orbital live - yet I still don't feel as if I have properly seen them.

Kentish electronic duo Orbital took to the stage at the Brighton Centre for the last gig in their Optical Delusion tour.

The Argus: The gig was paired with an impressive set of visualsThe gig was paired with an impressive set of visuals (Image: Andy Gardner)

But I must admit, the headline might be slightly disingenuous. After all, the show was a feast on all four senses - The missing sense, however, being arguably the most crucial.


For an act acclaimed for their intricate melodies and soundscapes, I can't help but feel as though the performance missed the mark.

The lows, highs, and everything inbetween were muddled into a strange mush of noises which only slightly resembled that of the classics I know and love.

There was no character to the sound, and it felt as though there was a disconnect between the brothers on stage and us, the audience.

In a way, this broke my heart. The pioneering pair were once central to 90s rave culture, yet this gig hardly reflects that.

For the first time in 22 years, Phil and Paul Hartnoll were joined by a vocalist on stage.

Lily Wolter, vocalist of Brighton band Penelope Isles, donned the band's trademark headlamp glasses to perform with Orbital on stage.

This had the potential to be a truly magical and angelic moment, combining the digital electronica of Orbital with the natural and soulful voice of Lily.

Instead, it was indistinct and muffled.

And this was a common theme throughout the performance, I felt detached from the music - as more of a witness. And this disconnect from the music made it easy to get distracted, as I noticed my fellow concertogers being policed by the security guards.

Dancing outside of designated areas appared to be banned, so was dancing on people's shoulders. In fact, the constant flashing of torches from the front of the stage made it feel as though it was part of the impressive lightshow beaming out.

But none of this is Orbital's fault. The Brighton Centre did not suit their show.

The Argus: They played tracks both old and new - Such as Dirty Rat with Sleaford ModsThey played tracks both old and new - Such as Dirty Rat with Sleaford Mods (Image: Andy Gardner)

It is by far the largest venue of its kind on the south east coast outside London, and yet Brighton needs a big new venue specifically for concerts.

It was just last year that Brighton and Hove City Council leader Phelim Mac Cafferty said the city would "pull out all the stops" in a bid to host the upcoming Eurovision Song Contest, before backtracking and admitting there was a "lack of infrastructure” for the prestigious event.