808state live at Manchester Academy, 27 February 1993

Report from Melody Maker, 6 March 1993:

808 State/Moby
Manchester Academy

SIX years on from the birth of Acid House, and the frontline moves so fast that very few outfits have managed to stay the course. 808 State's crossover has been crucial to their survival. The grass roots have long since lost interest in them, Their dogged longevity is due to Massey's muso suss and their gradual emergence as a kick-ass, left-field live pop band. Although "Cubic" is dragged out (complete with a guitar so , most of their slick, seamless set is far more mellow, relying on subtle melody and clever textures that insinuate rather than bludgeon. still rely on a large chunk of pre-recorded material, but they make the technology sweat, cramming in ideas and colour that flesh out die attack.

Maybe the new 808 State lock a focal point. Martin Price, his crotch-grabbing, beanpole frame dominating the stage, was the closest they got to a trod frontman. But then they've never been interested in the personality game. This musk is about technology and ideas, a post-pop soundtrack.

They sign off with a bizarre meltdown of The Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter" and their re-working of UB40's "1 In 10", before igniting "In Yer Face", the point at which Metal and Techno meet-a monster riff and no apologies.

At one time, 808 State were the future, now they have veered off into their own pop vision, happily faceless in a scene that doesn't need stars.

Moby is the enigmatic Yank Techno Christian, who spent the last couple of years remixing fora whole host of pop millionaires while constantly touring, hitting the charts in his own right with "Go", that spooky "Twin Peaks" lift. He performs like a man possessed, leaping around, a gurning R'n'R trouper. "Go" is cooly dispensed with. The follow-up flop, "Next Is The E", is rattled off. Fast beats and bowel-rattling bass dominate the backbeat, underpinning the moody melodies.

And the set builds to the incredible climax, "1000", a track that gradually speeds up to 1000 BPM. The crowd gaze in bug-eyed rapture.

Moby stands on the monitors, adopts a crucifix pose and disappears when the drilling bass drum kicks to a halt.

Astonishing.

JOHN ROBB