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Olympia Theatre,
March 30th 1999

"Bloody techno" groaned the headband-clad young man behind me as Massive Attack took to the RDS stage a couple of years back. Now, the guy was obviously not well versed in Plastikman's B-sides, yet the episode did demonstrate the fact that techno has to be one of the most misused terms in music.

Orbital are seen by many as techno's great white hope, the only chance the genre has of making it into the top ten. This, however, is missing the point.

You only have to look around you at the Olympia tonight. The popular misconception of techno gig-goers with glazed eyes and solemn expressions dancing furiously to something resembling a hoover being eaten by a dying cat is blown completely out of the water.

Hundreds of flailing limbs and wide grins greet Orbital's various forays into the future of music. Tonight's gig is completely sold out, as was last night's, and seeing why is about as difficult as breathing.

This is not just techno; this is techno, house, metal, funk and classical music fused with breathtaking visuals to create something that is as exhilarating as it is entertaining.

Culminating with the apocalyptic 'Satan' and a stunning re-working of their first, and probably best, single 'Chime', Orbital blast all pigeonholes to oblivion. It leaves you standing, gaping, your brain a frazzled mess, your limbs aching and your ears ringing as you realise what the word euphoria actually means.

Bloody techno, indeed.

by Patrick Horan