You write the reviews: Morcheeba, Carling Academy, Oxford
Wednesday 18 June 2008
Sitting in a noodle bar opposite the venue prior to this gig, my friend and I discussed the possible flaws of seeing Morcheeba live. How would the electronic chill-out band perform their repertoire? Would they just have decks and a couple of keyboards? Although we had both been fans of the band for years, neither of us had any idea of what they looked like until receiving an email gig reminder the day before. Unfortunately, the press photo of two smartly dressed middle-aged men was not inspiring. No wonder that their A&R guys have chosen not to feature them on their album covers.
Morcheeba are only a group in a loose sense. The band is primarily the brainchild of the brothers Ross and Paul Godfrey, who've worked with a collective of different musicians over the years to create their unique soul-tripping dance beats.
It was our first time at Oxford's Carling Academy and we were surprised by the intimacy of the place. After a short wait and an instrumental track, the band finally appeared. They started with some of their early songs, their movement on stage mirroring the psychedelic, hypnotic rhythm, before moving on to stronger material from their current album, Dive Deep, on which "Enjoy the Ride" and "Riverbed" both feature the bassist Bradley Burgess's haughty vocals.
Meanwhile, Ross Godfrey's guitar solos were reminiscent of Pink Floyd and Andy Nunn looked totally at one with his keyboard. But the star of the performance was the lead vocalist, a wonderful French singer called Manda, who sounded like a sensual, melancholy angel.
As the concert progressed, it turned out that Morcheeba live are very much an old-fashioned guitar band, entertaining the crowd with some audience participation and banter. Ross slipped in some dedications, including one to the recently deceased Albert Hofmann, the man who developed LSD.
However, the most surprising thing about the show was that even though we knew all the songs, Morcheeba sound so different live that it was like seeing a new, up-and-coming band. When they moved on to tracks from 1998's Big Calm, one of their biggest-selling albums, the venue began to feel like a San Francisco jazz club in the late Sixties.
Morcheeba are a collective of two halves. One half touts the precisely engineered and digitally mastered albums, but they can also become the dynamic guitar band of their live performances. It's impossible for me to pick which one I prefer. But having the two just makes life sweeter.
Ruth Gasson, Student, Northampton
You write the reviews...
GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival
TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride
FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head
Potter's attempt to create an Essex Taj Mahal was a lovely treattv
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi Arabia mosque bombing: Two volunteer security guards hailed as heroes for stopping Isis suicide bomber reaching worshippers
- 2 Maisie Williams has an excellent message for one confused fan
- 3 Puerto Rico, island of lost dreams: People are leaving the debt-hit territory in droves as near neighbour Cuba's star rises
- 4 Tampon tax scrapped in Canada after petition convinces conservative government
- 5 Kate Moss on the naked Calvin Klein shoot and the obsession that ended her relationship
Jay Z's Tidal could be about to lose Beyonce's music in ultimate humiliation
Britain's Got Talent 2015: Jamie Raven divides Twitter as fans expose mind-boggling magic trick
ASAP Rocky gives nauseating response to explicit Rita Ora rap: 'I'm not saying she's a terrible person'
Big Brother 2015 new housemates: Simon Gross returns as stripper Marc O'Neill, model Harry Amelia Martin and X Factor reject Sam Kay join
Burning Man festival revellers accidentally torch prehistoric artefacts in Israel
EU referendum: David Cameron's rules are a 'democratic disgrace', says French-born Scottish politician set to be denied a vote
British tourists complain that impoverished boat migrants are making holidays 'awkward' in Kos
A nation of inequality: How the UK is failing to feed its most vulnerable people
Australian man punched in the face for defending Muslim women from abuse on train
David Starkey 'tells Amal Clooney to shut up and stop over-promoting human rights'
EU referendum: David Cameron to deny EU migrants and under-18s the chance to vote