A chillout session on a cooling July evening
Morcheeba are a perfect example of the kind of band that gets a major stage slot at Guilfest, as they've continued to churn out music for over a decade to a loyal fan base, regardless of their profile in the mainstream music press.
Highly thought of as a band who took ambient chill-out music to a new level in the latter half of the nineties, leading to the emergence of similar acts like Zero7, Morcheeba scored a hand full of single successes that led to them being permanent fixtures on chill-out compilation albums and even found their music soundtracking TV adverts.
The band took a break before the release of 2005 album 'The Antidote', a period which saw singer Skye Edwards leave to follow a solo career, with former Noonday Underground vocalist Daisy Martey brought in as her replacement.
The band have a new album 'Dive Beet' due in early 2008, and the Guilfest crowd got a taster of how this might sound with new single 'Lighten Up', which is best described as Morcheeba you might expect, only with a more focused pop feel.
Inevitably the big crowd favourites were a small number of the band's best-known hits. The Kosheen-like rock meets Amy Winehouse style soul of 'Everybody Loves A Loser' is more upbeat than much of their early work and therefore makes a real impact in any set, but 'Big Calm' is the album that really saw them breakthrough and so 'Part Of The Process', appearing early on, and 'Blindfold' created the best atmosphere in the cooling early evening.
Probably their biggest pop cross over moment came in 2000, with the track 'Rome Wasn't Built In A Day' and unsurprisingly this was left for the climax. Not only was this the standout moment for Morcheeba, but was one of the real highlights of the three days.
Despite this being a solid performance, there wasn't quite the intimacy and same excitement level being generated as the previous times I've seen Morcheeba, both on outdoor stages and on the uni circuit. They're still a unique band, but maybe their time away from the spotlight has taken a touch of the edge away. Here's hoping when the new album comes out they'll be back, just slightly to the left of the mainstream, well placed to charm with a single or two but keeping a safe enough distance for the intrigue level to remain.