by / February 14th, 2018 /

Or:la – the Menagerie, Belfast

There has been a substantial buzz surrounding this Twitch event. The crew’s decision to take on the Menagerie, a much smaller venue, as their semi-adopted home is one that, throughout tonight’s proceedings, will prove to pay off. If there’s one thing I love it’s an intimate vibe. Give me fairy lights, an empty room and a set of turntables over big warehouses and vacant airplane hangars any day of the week.

It’s one of those evenings when everyone seems to be out. A hug and a handshake with old friends and people you haven’t seen for a while becomes a regular occurrence. It’s of no surprise, really, when you glance at how talented the doublet performing is. Performing tonight under his Mount Palomar alias, Neil Kerr’s story is heartbreaking, heart-warming and inspiring. A chance meeting with The Night Institute’s Timmy Stewart (who just happens to be bopping away in the crowd) and a family loss would provide the determination to walk down the path of music following previous doubts.

For those who don’t know, Neil is a modular whiz. But more-so than that, when you combine his musical talents with the artistry of video work and visual art, it becomes difficult to find something this guy can’t do. His usual set up is, of course, an impressive one, but the modular has had to be put to one side for this evening’s soiree, as there’s simply not enough room, resulting in the performance maintaining an off-the-cuff electro vibe throughout. Neil may have only just finished writing the set hours beforehand, but there’s no rust to be seen here. The main objective of the set is to make people move, obviously, but this isn’t just a simple case of banger after banger. There is real emotion to be seen and heard here, and when you glance up to see an artist enjoying themselves with something they’ve worked so hard on, it really puts a smile on your face.

World music influences, raw electro and the culminating energy of artist and crowd result in a climactic performance that show us all why we should be getting very excited about Mount Palomar material coming in the near future. A huge applause, plenty of yeoooos and a quick nip out for a cigarette leads on to Deep Sea Frequency co-founder Or:la (Orla Dooley) taking to the stage. Or:la has developed a friendly relationship with the Twitch crew over the years, often referring to the party as her favourite. It can really be seen too.

Those smiles and a mutual understanding and appreciation of music cannot be faked. Or:la has developed into one of the finest selectors to come out of Ireland. That’s narrowing it down too much, actually. She’d give any selector in the world a run for their
money right now. A set that floats in and out of the sounds of electro, Jon Hopkins-esque ambience and the rowdy scenes of
Tom Craft’s ‘Loneliness’ makes for a real treat tonight. The latter ignites a frenzy, and is undoubtedly my highlight of the evening; partygoers are held-high on the shoulders of their friends displaying an animalistic appreciation for what’s going on mere feet in front of them.

Or:la, sound as she is too, continues the night’s party in an impromptu afters, where we watch her use a simple mixer in a small living room to play out Anita Ward’s ‘Ring My Bell’ to a crowd of eight. There’s been something so community driven about the whole evening that just makes this a truly fitting end to a wonderful night of music.