moderat960-940x626– ALBERT HALL, MANCHESTER –

Moderat made one of my favourite albums of last year, the delightful II which also contained what could be my favourite song of last year too, the beautiful ‘Gita’. So to say I’m pretty, pretty excited about this late night gig presented by the Warehouse Project guys at the recently re-opened stunning Albert Hall venue on Peter Street, is somewhat of an understatement. Moderat is a combination of two Berlin based electronic music stalwarts:  Modeselektor (otherwise known as Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary) and Apparat (Sasha Ring), which has borne two brilliant albums and an EP. Now on tour together as one, the two make for incredible bedfellows, and produce an incredible live show to suit the wonderful surroundings.

A word about those surroundings. The Albert Hall is just wondrous. Re-opened by the guys behind the Trof empire, it’s an old chapel that still retains it’s huge pipe organ and iridescent stained glass windows that even in the pitch black of a freezing February night seem to somehow flood the venue with a glorious light. It’s an incredible venue that’s been given new life, and I can’t wait to go back for gigs. The staging for this gig looks deceptively simple, four screens arranged in an X shape, and three desks for our heroes to stand behind and do their thing. When the trio arrive on stage to an enthusiastic welcome from the busy crowd, they get straight down to business with the rumbling bass of ‘This Time’ and a meandering (in a good way) full 10 minute version of their second album centrepiece ‘Milk’, an absolutely masterclass in how to build a dance song. The screens hold projections of reaching hands, ever evolving ‘Moderat’ logos, mesmerising shapes…they really add to the experience of what is essentially watching three men fiddle about with knobs behind a desk. The lights as well; oh the lights! There’s golden beams reaching up to the heavens as if sunshine is bursting through clouds, followed by pulverising strobes, followed by eerie backlights; they make the venue and the band illuminate in endlessly fascinating ways.

The middle section of the set is genius. A barnstorming ‘Rusty Nails’ is followed by ‘Bad Kingdom’ which gets the entire crowd’s hands up in the air, singing along with Apparat’s voice, and it’s rounded off by them bringing the tempo right down with ‘Damage Done’, a breather in a set so well paced it feels like 90mins has passed in about half an hour. During ‘Damage Done’, the lights go down, the backdrop is subdued, and all the focus is on Apparat and his silky vocals – it’s a standout moment in a set packed with wonderful moments. Yet it’s the encore that really gets me.

Coming back on stage after a brief rest, the they launch straight into ‘Gita’, and it’s a jaw dropper. The lights and projections go all twinkly, as if someone has projected the stars onto a disco ball, as Apparat sings gloriously ‘We blew it all’; far from it, Mr Ring, you’ve made this boy’s night. Whenever I listen to that song on the album, I spin it at least twice in a row. Here I could have stayed all night if they’d just played it over and over again. After finishing off with ‘Let The Light In’ and ‘Therapy’, the crowd disperse from the chapel of Moderat into the frosty night, warmed by the brilliant show from the brilliant team of German electronic wunder-kids. If only all electronic music gigs were this, well, human, the world would be a better place. Stunning, stunning stuff.

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