LIVE: The Orielles @ Belgrave Music Hall, Leeds

Socially distanced, strangely civilised, but reminiscent of Anglo-French indie pioneers Stereolab in their spacey energy, The Orielles brought a scorching chemistry to Leeds' Belgrave Music Hall across two individual shows.
Posted: 6 October 2020 Words: Tom Mangham Photos: Paul Reynolds

For many, The Orielles at Leeds’ Belgrave Music Hall on Sunday just gone will have been their first live music performance since COVID-19 hit, and the sold-out show was a welcome return. However with social distancing and allocated tables, there was a distinct lack of familiarity to what everyone is used to.

Opening track, ‘Come Down On Jupiter’ from latest LP Disco Volador, was certainly more than enough to warm the crowd up and adjust them the new way of life that live music now entails. It was clearly not an occasion lost on the band, with guitarist Henry Carlyle telling the audience how joyful and lucky they felt to be on stage for the second time that day, in spite of a global pandemic. After then launching into a setlist that mostly consisted of Disco Volador tracks, energy was certainly not lacking in the four-piece, notably with Carlyle bouncing around, pulling every expression possible, and playing with an energy of desperation.

Drummer Sidonie Hand-Halford was also noticeably on form tonight; concentrating hard on the kit before her and killing it with funky drumbeats that alongside bassist/vocalist Esme Dee Hand-Halford’s charismatic basslines, made rhythm firmly centre of attention. Clearly lockdown has done well for their music and how the smooth the band seemed to operate as a live act. Chemistry was in abundance on stage, all four members barely noticing each other for the entirety of the 40-minute set as they focused on their own instruments and went at their signature brand of 90s indie pop so reminiscent of Anglo-French indie pioneers Stereolab.

'Bobbi’s Second World' was a particular highlight of the night’s set, not only with it being the band’s biggest hit to date but with the way it got the audience moving, despite being confined to tables and chairs. Newest member Emily Zukowski's jangly indie keys managed to cut through the soundscapes of both bass and guitar that had been battling for most of the night, and really paved the way for some questionable upper body dance moves.

DIY indie groove ‘Sunflower Seeds’, from 2018’s Silver Dollar Moment, marked the end of the night at 21:15 (with a strict, looming 22:00 curfew) but also stamped a feeling of normality back into gig-goers despite the new, almost civilised, way of doing things.

To hear more from The Orielles, click here.

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