The Orielles have rocketed on to the scene this year, releasing a critically acclaimed album and embarking on a series of shows across five European countries with much anticipation and excitement. The Halifax outfit dropped by for a sold-out Gorilla on Saturday for the final gig of the tour.
Immediately clear was that Gorilla was the perfect venue choice for them; providing a venue intimate enough for the band to demonstrate their DIY-roots, yet large enough to feel like they’ve moved beyond playing small shows to less than a hundred.
Gorilla is also, in my opinion, the perfect music lover’s venue: the staff are friendly and welcoming, it’s easy to get to, and usually is engineered and rigged perfectly to suit the act playing. This might be some of the reason why The Orielles attracted such a varied audience, with everyone from ear-plug adorning 6music dads to Sixth Formers sporting Black Honey t-shirts. It made for a convivial atmosphere, which placed the emphasis of the night on the performance of the band, not the behaviour of the crowd.
Entering the stage to ‘I Love The Nightlife (Disco ‘Round)’ by Alicia Bridges, The Orielles began their set steadily with ‘Old Stuff, New Glass’ through to ‘Henry’s Pocket’, with a lo-fi, grunge-esque sound ever-present. It was interesting to observe just how the band took on the challenge of re-creating the ambitious production that defined their album, Silver Dollar Moment.
Their reverting to their unrefined roots was certainly refreshing: it allowed the band to experiment more with the live performance, whilst remaining firmly in the sound of the album. This was best exemplified by the fifth song of the evening, ‘I Only Bought It For The Bottle’. Akin to the famous Saturday Night Live sketch, The Orielles had a fever — and the only prescription was more cowbell. This extended edition of the single was met with rapturous applause from the audience, which re-energised the show.
This re-energisation was a key turning point for the gig: unfortunately, non-singing frontman Henry Carlyle’s microphone was far too quiet to be heard by many in the venue, meaning much of the wit and pleasantries were lost in the process. A similar problem hit lead singer Esmé Dee Hand-Halford, too. However, after shouts from the crowd to “turn it all up”, the engineers responded and everything was back on track. Carlyle deserves a special mention for his frontman skills, using his West Yorkshire tones to encapsulate the audience between songs, culminating in “how early are the set times tonight? It’s like fucking prinks before a heavy fucking session!”.
The newly turned up mics allowed ’48 Percent’ to be performed at its best, with Esmé Dee Hand-Halford vocals shining through as well as they do on the record. The addition of Alex on keyboards also allowed the band to experiment more as the set progressed, with ‘Liminal Spaces’ and ‘Blue Suitcase (Disco Wrist)’ coming over incredibly, and quickly erased memories of the sound issues from the first half of the set.
Having finished the main body of the set, they returned to the stage for the customary encore, and it must have been the shortest gap between set end and encore start seen at Gorilla. The Orielles capped a great night of music off by producing a special eight-minute rendition of fan favourite ‘Sugar Tastes Like Salt’, which can only be described as awe-inspiring, especially alongside the impressive light show that surpassed any I’d seen previously.
On reflection, The Orielles lived up to the hype as one of the hottest new guitar bands in Britain. Confident, charming, and immensely talented, only a mic issue stopped this from being one of my favourite gigs of all time.