Live: Meet & Right. Orbital, Royal Albert Hall.

The cyclical nature of every LP excreted by brothers Hartnoll under the timeless guise of Orbital, recent eighth studio effort Wonky included, renders a show within what Paul labels "a big round building" meet, right, and all the more obvious. It's the first time the pair have taken to the Royal Albert Hall since '96 and if much of the world's inner workings have been tinkered irreversibly (and oft irredeemably) since there's a comforting resolution to every last Orbital showing: their legions of hardy 'fans' (in a quite literal sense: several are seen in Orbital football shirts from around the aforesaid era) loyally descend upon Belgravia; the filaments and inert elements within the customary headlamps still smoulder; the likes of Belfast and Chime and Halcyon And On And On (bolstered by time-honoured traditional Belinda Carlisle and Bon Jovi reshuffles) invoke a warranted pandemonium equivalent to that in the shade of the Other Stage. However perhaps unforeseeably it's Wonky material that's bent into truly invigorating shapes of monumental sound. Albert quakes as the stalls shake...
Thus as double helixes twist and contort on the angular screenery beyond the four nodding bright lights to the abrasion-soused sound of Stringy Acid – one of seven new slabs here hacked up and rehashed – you sense that the genetic composition of the duo is, like the world around us, changing. And perhaps perdurably so for whilst the melancholic strains and synth blurts of Straight Sun or the widescreen wonderment of One Big Moment may have infected tonight's setlist they effortlessly retain that unashamedly ecstatic essence, and this is achieved with an inconceivable consistency. To revert to the forty-four mudded knees traipsing around weathered pitch, it's the sort of consistency for which most top tier teams gormlessly long and it here enthrals the uppermost Circle and beyond. Sad But True for instance, an intimation on record of a once-potentially precarious reversion to the faux-rave propensities of, say, The Prodigy is here transmogrified in simmering red-blooded, full-bodied pulsation of irresistible compulsion. Impact (The Earth Is Burning) too exudes an infectious vitality despite being well into its second decade of telluric existence, its drops profoundly accentuated; its mechanical rhythms enhanced, again to irrevocable extent.

However tonight the straight and narrow is Wonky and with this reconfiguration to recent, the immediately disparate strands of the record are concisely interwoven to represent one blissful whole. The locution 'VIOLENT' splayed across each and every screen, even the caustic aggro of Beezledub now works as vitriol drips out from its every creak, the sound imbued with a pristine clarity. The feline yelps and those of an absent Lady Leshurr blend a little obviously on the title track as the lines between genius and generic blur and it's a little easy to get lost in the evening's more lacklustre moments yet the lucid truth is that they're at their most formidable when going for the jugular of an anthemic vein. For as a live act geared toward a festival aesthetic that's caked in cack and seeking solace in sonic enlightenment, the euphoria's best when in no way diluted. And as pre-emptive strikes for the festival season go (indeed a slight examination of now-omnipresent listings suggests a hectic estival season approaches for the Hartnolls) few cudgel like closer Where Is It Going?

And despite the open-ended ending the inquisition within its designation may propose, with this annular spectacular soon little more than a swiftly shrivelling wrinkle sinking into a mush of memory the prevailing notion is that tonight Wonky, and with it Orbital, went immutably stratospheric.