Live Review: Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs, Rock City (23/10/12)

The blurb on the Rock City website promised that when Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs came to play on 23rd October, there would be a frenzied carnival of ‘bizarre instruments, glitter cannons and of course… dancing dinosaurs’. Naturally, Nottingham and Impact Magazine came prepared for a party. As the crowd waited between support act Roosevelt with his mix of electronic and live performance and the main entertainment, all that could be heard were the rowdy calls for ‘T.E.E.D, T.E.E.D!’. The excitement was palpable.

The conductor of this spectacle, however, is not your regular showman. Orlando Higginbottom, originating from Oxford, barely said a word or even looked up as he walked on stage, with the blinding light show as the only indication of what was yet to come.

The set admittedly got off to a muted start with slick groove ‘Panpipes’, but it was merely a ruse. Almost immediately after ‘Trouble’ trembled the walls and floor of Rock City, Orlando sprayed the surprised, exuberant venue with streams of silver using a handheld confetti cannon. Then it truly began; an hour and a half of raucous joy with more cannons, female dancers dressed in various dino-get ups and, of course, an enormous blow up dinosaur.

Orlando, despite all these tribal gimmicks that have become a staple feature of his shows and T.E.E.D’s image, still managed to show people his status as a skilled professional. While this peculiar circus was happening at the front of the stage, at the back he was intensely focused on the bedazzling selection of synths, equipment and instruments that he was surrounded by. His mixing was clean and effortless and his sense of timing keen with his smooth transitions, such as the one from a pulsing interlude into ‘Your Love’.

Like his support act, Orlando attempts to make his live experience as ‘live’ as a dance act can be, with his vaporous vocals in ‘Stronger’ and ‘Solo’ gliding in easily amongst pre-produced sounds and those that he created on the electronic instruments he had amongst his array. It added a sense of authenticity in T.E.E.D’s set that is difficult to feel in some DJ’s sets where there is more of a reliance on pre-recorded material.

A degree of awkwardness could have been felt about the gaping difference between the serious musician and the hedonistic frivolity, but particularly towards the end it was evident how fully Orlando embraced the latter. For the singles, such as ‘Garden’, when we were treated to an appearance of singer Luisa Gerstein from Lulu and the Lampshades, he felt he could stand back from his work desk and fully enjoy his effect on the jumping crowd. He danced along with them, adorning a glittery Indian chief headdress for ‘Tapes and Money’ and ‘Household Goods’.

A carnival Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs promised, and a carnival it certainly delivered. Moreover, it was done without losing any sense that T.E.E.D as a still fast developing, professional act.

Emily Shackleton

…Emily has been listening to Roosevelt – Sea… 

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