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Tune in to Orange: Orange Television rip it up at Northampton’s Iron Horse Music Hall

article by Maren Johnson
photography by Sue Sparks

When the bass player of any band walks onstage in sunglasses and a dress covered in gigantic orange flowers, you have to wonder, for at least a second, what you’ve gotten yourself into.

At the Iron Horse Music Hall in Northampton, MA, the four-piece Orange Television, composed of Nate Martel (guitar, vocals), Howard Jay Feibusch (guitar, vocals), Myles Thomas Hefferman (bass) and Robert Lamond Monte Arnstam (drums), manage to squeeze themselves, and at one point, two guest musicians for more than ninety minutes of music that ranges from the soft and soulful to the energetic and spunky.

Playing to crowds at the Iron Horse can’t be easy, since the interior has two distinct levels, a bar tucked away in the back, and a fairly narrow dance pit in front of the stage with most sitting areas located to one side and the back of the pit, but OTV takes it all in stride and gets right down to business after their sound check.

At first, they have an almost ambient, post-modern feel going, but within the first minute and a half they launch into a gritty, feel-it-in-your-bones guitar. Some impressive, nimble time signature changes early on showcases their talent well without being too overt – you can really feel okay admiring them: they’ve got a cool attitude that’s not aloof, including the audience in their vibe as they move through an almost seamless set list:

“Aisha”, off their new album Extended Play is in top form, with some increased reverb on their instruments that created an absolute wall of sound that fills the entire space. The kind of energy they give off is absolutely indescribable – while it’s not necessarily high-level, it completely envelops you.

Orange Television

Even on the balcony level, the audience that at first preferred to observe from afar, is urged to move. Throughout the rest of the show, OTV exhibits a tremendous amount of cross-genre capability: indie rock. Grunge punk. There’s even something that almost sounds like country (almost); all without missing a single beat.

Each member of the group is totally invested from start to finish. Myles has removed his sunglasses – though the dress made it all the way through. As they were nearing the end of their set, they whip out a cover of MGMT’s “Electric Feel”, which they have spiced up by adding swing to their guitar and a little more attitude to their vocals. It removed some of the ethereal quality that MGMT’s performance of the song had, but made it, in the end, a much better live performance.

They finish off the night with “Assembly Line”, much to the delight of the crowd, who has been calling out for them to play it all night. When they step off the stage, everyone in the room lingers, still enveloped. Not enough good things can be said about OTV’s live presence: they were talented, spellbinding, and downright unforgettable.

Highlights: Electric Feel; Assembly Line


 

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