Moderat – Synth Rock
After the final Kraftwerk show ended a bit late [I think that last encore of “Planet Of Visions” pushed them over the line], I was hot-footing it across downtown to the Diana Wortham Theatre for the Moderat show. I was traveling musically from Düsseldorf to Berlin in just the time it took me to get to the show! Of course, there was a queue to get into the intimate theatre, which seated only several hundred. I was in line in my Magazine concert shirt from their 2009 Manchester show [obtained by buying the CD/DVD of same from Magazine’s web store as a fine bundle of joy] when a young woman in the line in front of me exclaimed “were you at that show? I went to that show.”
Suffice to say, this is not the sort of conversation that I expect to have when I wear the holy Magazine shirt [as designed by Malcolm Garrett, of course]. I might hope to have such a conversation sparked by my garb, but I don’t really expect it to happen. Not with Magazine, and certainly not with a woman who appeared to be at least half of my age! We chatted amiably with her and her companion about how she booked the flight nearly a year in advance, due to the enormous lead time when the sacred 2009 reformation concerts were announced, and how she got a student discount in addition to price perks for booking her travel so far in advance. I could only marvel at the first person I had ever met who had seen the Magazine reformation shows. Just meeting a Magazine fan is rare enough! And after no more than ten minutes the door to the theatre beckoned.
As I entered the small, deluxe black box-sixed theatre, I was accosted by some really punishing bass, but with a long day behind me, I was content to sit down in my seat [even though many were standing in front of me] and just chill to the best of my ability and absorb the excellent songs and performances. Moderat were a supergroup formed from Apparat and Modeselektor, and specialized in an indie rock/club trance crossover music. I had enjoyed the samples I’d heard of their music, and as with YACHT the night earlier, Moderat were the sort of band that I liked best; that is to say, a band that used synths heavily, yet also had time for guitars and acoustic drums. I am a sucker for that warm, yet high tech hybrid synth rock sound as practically defined by Ultravox on “Systems Of Romance in 1978 as the sort of music that I will always love best.
Musically, I was reminded of Interpol with delicious seasonings of shoegaze via the gorgeous guitar of Sacha [“Apparat”] Ring that was added to the mix. As for Ring’s vocals, they were even better than Interpol’s The mood and cinematic emotive qualities of the music were very dramatically enhanced by the stunning visuals that were the product of lighting and two rear projection screens. A simple setup in theory, but the interplay between the virtual lighting animated on the screens, and the actual lighting in the venue, created a scenario where the entire presentation existed in some shadowy place behind and beyond the fourth wall.
The band had a gorgeous set of music that engaged me in spite of the concert fracking* sound that had the bass rattling my thorax. The Modeselektor part of the band have reps as bass heroes, so it probably comes through their DNA, but I am betting that I will have no problems with the CDs of their beautiful material. That it can be said that I enjoyed the concert in spite of the sound is high praise, indeed. The band played an encore since they were closing out the night and when the show ended it was 2:00 a.m., with just enough time for some surgical sleep.
As it turned out, I had a brunch date the next day with an acquaintance from the John Foxx forum whom I’d been discussing Moogfest with for several months. I gave her some Asheville pointers and with our tastes in music, I thought it would be nice to have a meal and meet her and her friend. We would be eating at 11:00 a.m., so it was imperative that I was home and in bed fairly soon. I saw the ladies I had chatted with on the way out and contemplated telling the Magazine fan about my blog and the Magazine Rock G.P.A. I had written after the release of “No Thyself” but I thought the better of it. It seemed too much like tooting my own horn.
Next: …The last day
* A tip of the hat to commenter chasinvictoria for coining this most descriptive phrase.