Natural Selection: Or:la @ Headrow House, 2/11/18

Exploding onto the electronic music scene, Orlagh Dooley, also known as Or:la, has fast become a headline name. With a career that just keeps climbing and after a summer of playing at nearly every major electronic musical festival around, it’s no wonder tickets for tonight are sold out. There’s a queue down the street outside Headrow House, a three-storey former textile mill in the heart of Leeds that has become home to Natural Selection, presented by Super Friendz. The night aims to bring some of the world’s top DJs to play alongside a selection of Leeds best local talent.

Entering the dark event space, visual projections of slow moving patterns catch the eye and decorate the ceiling interlocking across the sea of faces. Support acts take the form of Ryan Monaghan and Adam Pits, whose set crank out chuggy techno and enliven the room. Pits flows from one track to the next, finishing off with his hugely successful ‘Socket Power’ the crowd chant the track name, cheer Pits on and buzz about Or:la’s arrival.

Stepping up to the decks, Or:la is met with deafening cheers. She begins with a record with heavy trumpet and a steady drum beat as she builds an irresistible crescendo, culminating in a disco track that gets everyone moving. Or:la’s ability to play with her audience to ramp up and slow down at moments when it’s just right is an incredible sight to see. Her flow blends seamlessly as she makes the crowd dance with her, playing off their energy. Red flights flood the stage as she hammers out techno, quickening the tempo track by track each heavy on the bass. Her impeccable track selection and her undeniable technical ability allow her to progress from light to dark and back again with undeniable ease.

Distorted and broken techno abounds as Or:la continues to ramp up her set before breaking into a remix of ‘Pony’ by Genuwine and I along with the rest of the crowd can’t help the grin that breaks across our faces. To say Or:la was impressive would be an understatement; her set was a melodic balancing act that was a true pleasure to witness.

Featured image: Megan Doherty Photography

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