I like to think I've kept my ear to the ground when it comes to techno. I've got Suburban Knights "The Art of Stalking" and Dave Clarke "Red 1" and "Red 2" on vinyl. I managed to eventually visit the current mecca of techno, Berghain in Berlin and saw a storming Dave Clarke set in March this year. So imagine my surprise to have stumbled across The Orbit - a night that ran from 1991 to 2003 - at Afterdark club in Morley, Leeds. I have to admit, when I'd been flicking through the pages of Mixmag back in 1999 i'd be looking out more for the likes of Paul Van Dyk and Mauro Picotto than Jeff Mills and Marco Zaffarano but how could I have missed it! I used to read that mag cover to cover.
Anyway sure enough a quick look at Mixmag November 1999 reveals that Thomas Heckmann, Justin Robertson, Ben Sims, CJ Bolland and Billy Nasty all turned up to spin some no doubt heavy shit.
A night that had Robert Hood, Jeff Mills, Derrick May, DJ Hell, Christian Vogel, Joey Beltram, CJ Bolland, Dave Angel, LFO, Marco Zaffarano and David Holmes all playing in the space of a month (December '95 - January '96) gives you some idea of it's pedigree. What really strikes me though, having had an extended cruise through Youtube is the degree to which the crowd "had it". Some video evidence of this below:
James Ruskin set Orbit, Leeds 05/09/1998
Ritchie Hawtin set at Orbit, Morley, Leeds 13th October 2001
Maybe I'm hugely unaware or just not looking in the right places but I can't think of a night in the UK presently that comes anywhere near this. And I think there is certainly a huge audience for a return to a weekly hard as nails techno nightery. I noticed a rather accommodating disused warehouse on the way out on the DLR to City Airport in London the other week - a Berghain for London perhaps....
No that's ludicrous but how about a small, sweaty 800 capacity club with a queue round the corner that played the music HARD week in, week out, no exception. Email me original Orbit crew if you want to discuss... seriously!
I live in hope but, until that time, here are some flyers from back in the day.
Orbit Club Flyer Morley Leeds
Orbit Club Morley Leeds June July 1994
Orbit Club flyer September October 1995 Morley Leeds
Orbit Club Morley Leeds December 1994 January 1995
Orbit Club Morley Leeds Jeff Mills, Joey Beltram, Sven Väth
Orbit flyer January February 1996 Woody Mcbride, Claude Young, Sven Väth, Westbam, Luke Slater
Orbit flyer Morley Leeds Mike Dread, Andy Weatherall, Jeff Mills, Westbam, Sven Vath, Ritchie Hawtin
Orbit flyer Morley Leeds
The Orbit New Years Eve 1997 ticket with CJ Bolland, Joey Beltram, Dave Clarke and Surgeon