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...
Oscars 2015 Mexican filmmaker uses speech to urge 'respect' for immigrants
Oscars 2015 Bringing you all the news from the 87th Academy Awards
TV ReviewThe intrigue deepens as we delve further but don't expect any answers just yet
Razzies 2015 Golden Raspberry Awards 'honours' Cameron Diaz and Kirk Cameron
Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days
Oscar voter speaks outfilm
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 2 Husband and wife die holding hands within hours of each other after 67 years of marriage
- 3 What color is The Dress, white and gold or blue and black? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 Fearne Cotton quits Radio 1 after ten years for 'family and new adventures'
Seinfeld is laughing all the way to the bank: TV show generates $3.1bn in repeat fees since final episode
Eddie Redmayne in The Danish Girl: First look at Oscar winner as transgender artist
Blade Runner sequel: Harrison Ford confirmed to return with Denis Villeneuve directing
All fiction follows one of six basic storylines, according to new research
House of Cards season 3 premiere, review: Has Frank Underwood gone soft?
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East