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Live Review: Morcheeba – 17th April 2014 – The Metro Theatre, Sydney, Australia

4 min read

Australia was given a dose of the UK’s finest trip-hop last night at the Metro Theatre in Sydney with Morcheeba rolling into town as part of the outfits current Australian tour.  With a spot at this year’s Bluesfest and a string of sideshow gigs taking place around the country, the band are delivering tracks from latest record Head Up High and hits from their impressive 8 album catalogue.

Upon arriving at The Metro I was quite surprised at how packed the venue was. I mean, there wasn’t an inch of the venue spared from excited fans talking about their Morcheeba fandom or having their pictures taken in groups with the large band banner creating the backdrop to their memories of last night’s show. Prior to arriving at the show I had wondered how many of the bands fans would still be around in such a small music market as Australia compared to the likes of the UK and Europe. Not only was the show a sell-out, I am almost certain they were over capacity, a testament to the bands ability to retain old fans and influence a whole new generation of music lovers.

From the new record, the band opened with Make Believer; its reggae influences reverberating throughout the packed performance space. As the band took to the stage the night was underway, venue rumbling with applause as elegant front woman, Skye Edwards, dressed in a black and white striped dress that she later confessed to making herself, stepped out to deliver the evenings set with stunning execution. Her vocals throughout the night were immaculate; soft, down-tempo and husky tones wrapping around her bands faultless instrumentation. If you want record quality in a singer – this is your girl! She was also respondent to the crowds cheering of the bands name in football stadium style and even encouraged the audience to light up a joint, declaring that she could smell the marijuana and announcing that the band have two rules when it comes to their concerts – that smoking a joint was encouraged and that it must be shared with the band, saying this with a smile that was stretched from ear to ear almost permanently throughout the set. She was clearly in her zone and having a great time with her fans.

The concert was as much a nod to Morcheeba’s latest studio effort as it was to their nineties hits, notably those that were lifted from the bands more mainstream centred record, 1998’s Big Calm, with tracks like the syrupy slowjam The Sea and Part of the Process getting the crowds rapturous stamp of approval.

Obvious pop-oriented career highlights such as Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day, a commercial success for the band the world over back in 2000, and of course, Blindfold, a personal favourite and the centrepiece to last night’s epic performance were also offered by the masters of crossover trip-hop.

With plenty of hits to choose from and 8 albums to pluck a selection, the set did not falter at any point. While the outfit is currently plugging their latest record, Head Up High, the crowd was invited to sing along to a career spanning collection from the band whose delivery of each inclusion was nothing short of sublime – vocally and instrumentally.

Some of the finest moments did come with the new tracks, particularly with the offering of up-tempo cuts like the opening Make Believer, the sultry and catchy lead single, Gimme Your Love, the dancey Release Me Now or the contrasting piano driven balladry of I’ll Fall Apart, a track that Skye had the lights dimmed for, encouraging the crowd to hold up their phones to provide the track with an intimate setting to be performed by the trip-hop icon. The bass-heavy and pulsating closing of Face of Danger also allowed the night to end on a high with Skye inviting support act and rapper Chali 2na to provide the track with its impressive, fast-paced rap filling.

I’ve been a fan of Morcheeba since the bands early years and have always hoped to catch them live one day. I had missed  their shows for one reason or another while I was living London and had thought that my chances of being in the crowd at a Morcheeba show one day was forever to be a box left unchecked. I had also always hoped that if I did get to seen them live, that the show would be outstanding. I didn’t quite expect that it would be as good as last night’s incredible performance was and haven’t been able to let the smile leave my face since leaving the90 min long set last night.  Morcheeba – I tip my hat to you!

Set List:
Make Believer
Never an Easy Way
Part of the Process
The Sea
Gimme Your Love
Shoulder Holster
Otherwise
Let’s Dance (David Bowie cover)
Crimson
Trigger Hippie
Blindfold
Release Me Now

Encore:
I’ll Fall Apart
Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day
Face of Danger