GIG REVIEW: O.R.K & TrYangle Live at Borderline, London
Right in the middle of an intense European tour opening for The Pineapple Thief, O.R.k. headed off for a few dates as a headliner, one of which at the Borderline in the very center of London Town.
The venue was not very busy, not big queue at the entrance, easy night for the security stuff, quite expected on a Tuesday night, for a show not suited to the mass.
At 8:15 circa the opening act “TrYangle” jumped on stage, breaking the intimate atmosphere of The Borderline delivering an energetic and good show. The Portuguese trio entertained the crowd with a good mix between Pink Floyd, King Crimson with a touch of dark atmosphere, grunge and stoner sometimes. The 45 minutes set easily slide away leaving a pleased crowd, warmed up for O.R.k, this super band formed by Pat Mastelotto (King Crimson) on drums, Colin Edwin (Porcupine Tree) on bass, Carmelo Pipitone (Marta sui Tubi) on guitar and, last but not least, Lorenzo Esposito Fornasari on vocal and synths.
No time to mess around, after only 15 minutes everything was ready for the main act, Pat sat on the drum stool and after a few seconds Lorenzo, Colin, and Carmelo appeared on stage.
The concert started with “Funfair” from the debut album “Inflamed Rides” introduced by a masterly guitar arpeggio, leading into a very dark-atmosphere verse and a chorus that left space to a powerful middle eight where Lorenzo started to show his vocal skills.
Without any pause, the band performed “Too Numb”, opening track of the second album “Soul of an Octopus” in which Colin delights the ears to those present with a groovy bass part reminding “Stratus” from Billy Cobham, (great shot!) and “Signal Erased” from the last album “Ramagehead”. In this last tune, the crowd could appreciate Carmelo’s skills on guitar, who started the intro with a “looping” tapping riff, followed by an aggressive and “ostinato” bridge which led straight into the chorus, supported by a solid and “odd-tempo” rhythm section. This song was the first taste of the essence of this band. Lorenzo impressed the crowd, jumping from the powerful and rough singing in the chorus, to some delicate lines during the middle-eight. It was just like having Chris Cornell and Jeff Buckley in the same song.
It is now Colin’s turn, to show the muscles. Next song was “Time Corroded” starting with a descendent progression of chords on bass. That was the main theme of the whole song. What impressed about Colin was the fact that he stood for the entire concert in his elegant pose, playing so smoothly and easily, delivering a solid low end to the whole sound, accompanied by the sacred monster behind the drum, which needs no introduction.
We must mention “Black Bloom” performed in the middle of the setlist. The album version is featured by Serj Tankian (System of a Down), unfortunately, we couldn’t have the special guest of such importance, although Carmelo did the job quite well, singing Serj’s parts. Lorenzo did not speak too much between each song, leaving very often the task to Pat, who was a brilliant entertainer with an amazing sense of humor.
The concert ended with the single extracted from “Soul of an Octopus” (Deluxe Edition) “I’m afraid of Americans”, a cover of a song by David Bowie, written in 1997. The song started with the recorded voice of Stephen Miller (Donald Trump’s Advisor) with the phrase “The whole world will soon see, that the power of the President will not be questioned” going in a loop. O.R.k.’s version was obviously more aggressive than the original one, and we could really value how Bowie’s music influenced Lorenzo in his career path. Definitely a great performance by the whole band.
The band counts on four talented musicians and performers. A solid and unfailing rhythm section, made by Mr. Mastelotto, an absolute king, and Edwin on bass, outstanding low ender. Those two gave the best possible support to Carmelo’s guitar, very effective and prompt. The whole big job by the instrumental part was embellished by the astonishing and powerful voice of Lorenzo.
The show was definitely worth every single penny of the ticket cost. The name of the venue was also appropriate to describe the feelings at the end of the gig. It was like being on a borderline, floating between psychedelia, progressive, powerful rock with a pinch of metal.
Josh De Mita