Moderat at Albert Hall Manchester: Review

Modeselektor (Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) plus Apparat (Sascha Ring) equal Moderat. On paper, it’s a pretty simple equation. Some of their songs could also be viewed as quite simplistic. However, the quality of their productions proves why Moderat are one of the biggest names in the live electronic music scene.

It has been a couple of years since we last had the genre-defying Moderat in town for one of their amazing live sets and this one certainly, did not disappoint. The last gig they did in Manchester also unsurprisingly featured at the very popular Albert Hall. The venue has gone from strength to strength since it’s opening in 2013, thanks to the forward-thinking partnership between nightlife powerhouses Trof and The Warehouse Project, amongst others.

This gig was similar to previous live sets of theirs – neat intros, plenty of low frequency bass with splashes of Apparat’s mellow vocals nicely laid over drum beats for good measure. Upon arrival, Lone had just finished on warm up duties. As the crowd dispersed, I noticed that there was a nice blend of people in attendance. I believe this highlights the fact that Moderat are able to pull in a diverse array of people, which is refreshing to see in the current live electronic scene.

Shortly after 9pm, the threesome rock up on stage and got straight into proceedings, to the crowd’s delight. Their first song ‘Ghostmother’, is from their latest album ‘III’ which came out earlier in 2016 and showcases Apparat’s vocals very well. The song is a slow burning, moody and broken beat kind of jam which keeps the audience on their toes in anticipation for what’s next. Then instantly recognizable melody from ’A New Error’ then eases its way in, which builds the tempo and livens things up a bit.

I feel that the venue itself, lacks good punchy bass when in certain areas upstairs, so I am glad that tonight I am positioned downstairs in front of a speaker stack. As the song slowly filters out there is a slight awkward transition into ‘Running’, a big single from the latest album, but this is quickly forgotten due to the impeccable tight performance from the trio from there on. This song in particular has been very popular to remixers also this year, but the original version being played tonight displays their amazing production skills which they are renowned for. The crowd show much appreciation for this song and Apparat advises the audience, ‘That is just the warm up, the set is starting now!

After this we move quickly through Moderat’s remix of Jon Hopkins ‘Abandon Window’ and the red lasers come out to play. It must be noted that the lighting and effects on the back drop were pretty spectacular from this point forward and complemented the songs quite well. Up next we are flung onto the intense crescendo of ’Eating Hooks’ followed by the eerily approaching intro of ’Rusty Nails’. When the bass drops it completely fills the room and it’s not long before the twisted melody safely enters, ensuring everyone is now firmly going on this electronic journey together.

Up next is ‘Reminder’, another one from the latest album. This song gives the crowd a breather by bringing down the intensity momentarily. Although I believe the latest album is not their best material to date, this song does add a different dimension to their set. The vocals are very well written, with a kind of darkness which contrasts well with the crazy high end sounds/samples so often used in their music.

The guys take a breather and Apparat has a brief moment with the crowd. ‘We’re from Berlin and we are pretty pleased to be here in this wonderful city’. The crowd lap it up!

The boys really slow it down next with the almost poetic ’Last Time’, the euphoric bonus track from the second LP ‘II’. ‘Les Grandes Marches’ flows easily in with Apparat showing us his guitar skills with a nice intro. It is quite refreshing to see a guitar being used in this type of set up and adds to the mystique of the song as it builds. It is the type of song that you appreciate more in a live music environment. It really adds some tension to the set and has a quite a euphoric but also rugged and raw feel to it.

The band then encore with ‘Milk’, a song which I thought nicely let the crowd know that we were approaching the end using very spacey and repetitive sounds. It is a simple song but very effective. Very nicely filtered out into a very abrupt stop with the house lights showing much gratitude from the masses. Someone even throws a vinyl on stage! Apparat does not want the punter to lose it so ensures they receive it back safely. How very thoughtful!

The band then walk off stage to a rapturous applause. People start to leave when, all of a sudden, they’re back. Double encore time! ‘We’re gonna do one more for you guys. Thank you so much for such a great night.’ Moderat treat us to ’Versions’ which is an amazing choice to finish their set. It brought the crowd down from the intensity that went before it in a very special way and gave full on goosebumps.

All in all, although I’m not their biggest fan of the new album in comparison to what came before it, I think in terms of a live performance it has given them other avenues to work from and this was apparent in the show. I think the collaborations between Modeselektor and Apparat are very special and that the finished product of Moderat is quite unique. I feel that there are not many live acts in the electronic music world that are able to express themselves as well as they do. The show itself was immense and very well performed. Well done Moderat, we will be seeing you at the next available opportunity!

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