Morcheeba - Live at Leeds University, Thursday 19 th May 2005 - Live Review

Morcheeba - Live at Leeds University, Thursday 19 th May 2005 - Live Review

Live at Leeds University

Thursday 19 th May 2005

Morcheeba have sold more than 5 million albums world-wide and are the architects of the “trip hop” scene that spawned bands such as Zero 7, Air and Dido. Their music has been featured on TV programmes, films and has reached out to all manner of different music listeners including hip hop lovers. It would be fair to say there’s probably not many people in the Western world who hasn’t heard a Morcheeba track. From back in 1996 when they released ‘Who Can You Trust’ they now release a new album ‘The Antidote’ with a new singer Daisy Martey, formerly vocalist for the band Noonday Underground and have recorded on a new label Echo Records.

I was looking forward to this gig as I heard that Morcheeba put on great live shows. There was a good turnout with a mixed bunch of people ranging from all different ages and styles like Glastonbury veterans, students and laid back funky people. Everybody was in the mood to party and be lifted positively. As the band entered the stage the feeling was to open those shakras, let the music and atmosphere take you away to those higher states

The most obvious change of sound was the departure of Skye Edwards, Morcheeba’s previous singer. It’s clear that she did have a unique voice and character that was completely her own. We have to bear in mind that this was Daisy’s first performance of their tour promoting ‘The Antidote’ so she had a tough act to follow. She started a little wobbly but by the third song she was letting go and hitting us with some serious soul. That’s very much her style as compared to the eerie sound of Edwards.

It was good timing to start playing a few classics to let the crowd in. Tracks like ‘Part of the Process’ and ‘By The Sea’ from the Big Calm 1998 reminded us why Morcheeba were so popular and timeless. However this wasn’t a downtempo gig. ‘The Antidote’ sees Morcheeba broaden their horizons beyond the downtempo sound with which they are associated and embraces a whole raft of different influences as diverse as Aphex Twin and Bonnie Prince Billy, cult leftfield guitar heroes like Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine, and further back to the likes of Fairport Convention, David Axelrod and Jimi Hendrix. Paul Godfrey states “it’s a more upbeat record that raises the tempo to match the rougher, edgier vocals that Daisy brings to the mix”.

Halfway through the set the crowd loosens up and the band get rocking. They show that they are good musicians and the backing vocals fit very well with Martey who is certainly starting to swing those hips now. ‘The Antidote’ is primarily a live album, which is a change from the bands known style and this transcends well on stage, especially through the live drums. By the end of the set the band are really rocking out and all the influences from bands like Funkadelic really come through. The bass, guitar, drums, keys and turntables unite in an onslaught of sound that I really wasn’t expecting from Morcheeba but was really appreciated.

They come on to do an encore from a rapturous applause. They play ‘Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day’ and the crowd is really in the party atmosphere now. The finish again on a musical display of rock-funk-blues fuelled energy that lives us truly energised, invigorated and wanting more. The Godrey brothers have succeeded in keeping the flame of Morcheeba alive and still know how to put on a good show.

Tareck Ghoneim