Morcheeba at Shepherd’s Bush Empire
The music of Morcheeba, the 90s-era trip-hop trio, is not for everyone. But perhaps that is the point.
Onto their eighth studio album (the second offering since their 2003 trial separation), the British group draw an age-varied crowd, which nonetheless shares clear commonalities. What connects Morcheeba fans is an unapologetic appreciation for chilled-out, ambient sounds – what non-fans might term “elevator music”, but what those among the converted take refuge in – far from the bells and whistles of chart-topping, trend-following tracks all vying for attention.
Having released their latest studio album, Head Up High, at the end of last year, Morcheeba are still in the game, and on Friday night they stopped by the Shepherd’s Bush Empire to prove it.
Opening with their hauntingly seductive mid-90s debut single, Trigger Hippie, the group set the tone for a fan-pleasing evening of old and new material. The voice of frontwoman Skye Edwards was as fitting as ever: soft, but not weak, mysterious, but not dark, it luxuriates in and around the instruments like a slinking cat, and is the key element in the band’s blissed-out sound.
While Head Up High saw a few departures from the group’s signature style, to mixed reviews, certain tracks remain well within the group’s usual ambit. These include the otherworldly Under the Ice, which followed the opener. Although most of Morcheeba’s tracks are more sway-along than sing-along, a few in Friday’s set got the fans joining in with Edwards, including the soulful and reflective Part of the Process, from the 1998 album Big Calm. The rest of the set saw visits to Morcheeba’s eclectic and experimental past, with tracks such as World Looking In, Moog Island, The Sea and Blindfold.
No matter how alternative the fans profess to be, however, it cannot be denied that the joyful, people-pleasing, pre-encore pop song, Rome Wasn’t Built in a Day, was the highlight of the night. Who doesn’t love a kumbayah moment?
Despite what “creative differences” they may have encountered along the road, Edwards and the Godfrey brothers looked happy to be making their fans happy, and will no doubt continue to do so for the remainder of their tour.
Photos: Erol Birsen
For further information about Morcheeba and future events visit here.
Watch the video for Under the Ice here: