Moderat in Scotland

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  • "Best live show I've seen this year," was a common report from friends who made it to Sonar on the performance put on by Moderat, the collaborative project of Modeselektor and Apparat. Being a walking recession graph, I wasn't there myself, so when they finally came to Glasgow last week I was pretty eager to see what the fuss was about. Photo credit: spuddleyspudd As with all Modeselektor-related events in Glasgow, the show was put on by the tireless Numbers collective, who get the Berlin duo over to play here so frequently that they must be close to claiming dual citizenship. Consequently, Modeselektor have a particularly fervent following in the city, though it still says something about the level of interest in the pair's activities that Moderat were able to nearly fill a venue so large it will host shows from the Tesco music section-able likes of David Gray and Florence & The Machine in coming weeks. The ABC—or O2 ABC as we must now sorrowfully call it—is a 1250-capacity former cinema originally made famous as the site of Glasgow's first film screening in 1896. (It's now best-known for housing the world's largest rotating disco ball, a six-foot monster that I avoid standing under to this day.) As with most former cinemas, it packs an absolutely enormous stage, making it a go-to for bands with a substantive visuals budget to showcase, with Sparks having put the area to riotously good use a couple of years back. Standing in a row at strobe-lit podiums, looking like a slightly studenty Kraftwerk, the trio started the show as the album starts, with the gorgeous, vaguely Tim Heckerish "A New Error," before taking us through much of their feted, self-titled debut long-player. Atmosphere and reverb were to the fore, as on the record, with the group's considered, almost shoegazey beats providing a sometimes incongruous counterpoint to the bowler-hatted playful stage banter of Modeselektor's Gernot Bronsert. Live vocals and guitar from Apparat on tracks such as "Rusty Nails" and "Out of Sight" brought home the impact of his involvement in the group's music—his more organic, placid tendencies lending a softer, more bucolic aspect to Modeselektor's hyper-hyper musical instincts. Photo credit: spuddleyspudd Coupled with Pfadfinderei's stunning visuals—displayed on three enormous rear-projected screens and shifting in vivid glory from line-drawn designs to abstract nature scenes and dramatic globe graphics—and the whole thing made for a hugely immersive live experience. Moderat's album has received the odd snippet of criticism for a perceived lack of originality. Whether that's true, or is even a valid complaint, is open to debate, but as a live experience I'd have to add my voice to those who think this is the finest we'll see this year.