So ok, the isle of wight wasn’t so good. I’ve been lucky , so far with the first three gigs , starting over in my life after orbital.
Played on a nice big stage , the crew were great , the set up great , the sound system really good . Couldn’t have asked for more . Started 30 minutes before Fleetwood mac finished who had sucked up the entire population of the festival like a tsunami, taking all the water before it throws it back. So I knew the first part would be a bit of a warm up , no matter , we were expecting a flood of people when Fleetwood mac had finished. So half way in I could see the crowds beginning to come passed as the rest of the festival began to shut up shop for the night. I was hoping to bring them in for a last dance before bedtime with the nicely placed stage just back from the main drag. But alas, they came and kept coming and went and kept going ! No interest at all . I hurried through one of my new songs to get to Halcyon, surly that would bring in a few old ravers! But no . I had got some more folks in , it went from aground 20 people at the start to around 100 , if I’m being generous and accounting for the odd person spinning around by the speaker out of my line of sight but not a good turn out for a 3000 capacity stage. So I played to the crowd I had and was very appreciative of the 100 or so folks there especially the two guys right in front, around my age, and the two younger guys to my right who wooped and cheered thorough out, while one of them nudged, pointed and knowingly whispered to his friend throughout.
If your quick you may have noticed that I said whispered, well he was able to whisper too, as unknown to me , at 10:30 there was serious noise restriction put on to the stage( I came on at 10:35 ) When I finished I saw Chris , my manager, who looked white as a sheet, and not too happy, I thought he was going to commiserate me on the tiny crowd, but no , he just told me how quiet the whole thing was and how they had been battling with the council noise police to get it turned up . The sound man had done so at one point, only to be told off a couple of minutes later,and had to turn it back down again . apparently you could hear the 80’s disco tent over the other side of the drag louder than our stage at the front of house position. So I think that may have had something to do with not getting any of the passing trade in.
It’s a shame, as performance wise it felt like a good one, and Fable who had come along to sing cemetery did a great job too.
Now, don’t get me wrong , I do appreciate the lack of people isn’t all to do with the sound. They may not have come over even if it were blisteringly loud anyway. No one really knows what I’m up to at the moment , the old orbital fans have no real idea that 8:58 is my way of continuing with orbital. To be fair I went with that name as a creative/ artistic choice , to get some sort of new beginning and clean start with something that had a bit of meaning to me, but I’ve probably shot my self in the foot. It probably should have just been the album title. It’s really a bigger thing than I anticipated , loosing your brand. In seems like it means a lot more to people than I thought. Maybe I should have just stuck with Paul Hartnoll, but where’s the magic or smoke and mirrors in that? Maybe Paul Orbital like William Orbit or Jamie xx? How about 0rb1tal or Orbita11 like deadmau5? All be tall, ‘or beetle’, Orbit-all? I could go on…
I guess the brand name’s a seal of approval , a guarantee of quality , a no brainer. Where as starting again means proving yourself to your old customers that your still here doing your thing. I don’t blame them, we are a suspicious bunch us humans and I know I’ve done it too. Theres really not many people who’ve done better starting again after a successful band, Peter Gabriel maybe? Wings? It s a long haul for sure.
So four gigs in, it’s three to one for good v bad , I like those odds . But this hill, to win back the orbital fans ,might be a steeper climb than I first thought. I doubt it’s possible to get them all but hopefully I can get some new one’s along the way too.
After twenty five years of nearly guaranteed crowds, not always mind, orbital did some real shite ones in our day as well, I don’t think any one gets away with it totally. But after twenty five years, I’m ashamed to admit , it’s still a surprise when it happens , because you go in with the thoughts of full capacity ,loud sound and a cracking gig every time. Why wouldn’t you? You always hope for the best. And in the past,I’ve quite often got it.