Modeselektor at the Kentish Town Forum
Original article here.
Not many dance acts can claim to have combined and conquered so many disparate genres, so well and for so long, as the mighty Modeselektor. It was this mastery of electronic eclecticism that made for such a diverse crowd at their triumphant return to London, courtesy of Lovebox promoters Bang The Box. The cross section of fans which flocked to the Kentish Town Forum on Friday night were a testament to the line-up, with everyone from ageing techno crusties to young urban hipsters, tattooed indie rockers to stylish electro scenesters.
Brixton’s own Cooly G was the first of the live acts, rolling out the unique brand of deep, dubby house that has fuelled her recent rise to prominence. Opening act material it was though, as the set gradually wound down into the lower tempo bass music of her Hyperdub stable, finishing with an audience-baffling cover of Coldplay’s ‘Trouble’. Next up was perhaps the most anticipated set of the night, the maiden UK performance from Modeselektor’s Monkeytown label mate Siriusmo. The reclusive German producer and graffiti artist looked every part the bespectacled bedroom musician, but his brand of delightfully wonky electro was far from geeky. After an early acapella from Breakbot’s ‘Baby I’m Yours’, he got stuck into his own work, reeling off Modeselektor edit of ‘Wow’, ‘High Together’ from this years brilliant debut LP Mosaik, his Baboon mix of Idiotproof’s ‘Gorilla’ and of course the magnificent ‘Nights Off’.
From one bedroom producer to another, ably bridging the gap between the Germans was Boy 8-Bit, who tested the small yet powerful speaker rig with his darker take on the emerging electro theme. Much to the delight of the dance floor his set was tough and bass-heavy, but also pleasingly interspersed with more melodic moments like his own ‘Yard Bird’, ‘Baltic Pine’ and the popular ‘Loreley’ by Kölsch. By 1.30am it was time for the main event though, and the un-definable kings of what they call ‘advanced electro’ took to the stage, backed by two large panels for long-time visual collaborators Pfadfinderei to beam their work onto. Unlike other dance duos, Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szery admirably don’t hide behind their equipment, instead having just a table of kit separating them from the audience, ensuring Gernot’s enthusiastic dance moves were in full view.
New album opener ‘Blue Clouds’ started things off, before melting into the first of Monkeytown’s many fine collaborations; the Thom Yorke-featuring first single ‘Shipwreck’. Next up were the hip hop cuts, first the industrial drones and heavy flows of the Antipop Consortium hook up ‘Humanized’ rattled the speakers, before the more boisterously bassy ‘Pretentious Friends’ got the crowd bouncing, accompanied by text message style visuals of Busdriver’s hilarious lyrics. One of the many skits between songs saw a pretend electrocution of Sebastian, with the resulting reboot of the system segueing into the only section of their set not made up of new music. The banging ‘Keep Up’ by Supermodels from Paris initiated a 20-minute assault of the devastatingly dark techno their DJ sets often finish with. The encore took things back to Monkeytown though, closing the show with nasty Otto von Schirach collaboration ‘Evil Twin’, the relative light relief of ‘German Clap’ and the powerful PVT partnership ‘Green Light Go’. Whilst it might have been nice to include some older works, when the current source material is this good and entertains such a varied cross section of fans, it’s somewhat churlish to complain.