By Emilia Navarro, MUSE Staff Writer
Hidden beneath glowing theatre marquees, the men in black guard the entrance to the Royale. After showing ID and passing security, you hand over your tickets to the beautiful ladies standing at the foot of a grand staircase. Up the stairs you go to the ballroom, where Modeselektor dominated the crowd last Thursday night.
At around 9:45 p.m. Egyptrixx starts the show. David Psutka’s beginning is strong; the music’s got an awesome spacey groove. But later into his set he loses the momentum. Either way, he keeps the party going in the grand ballroom. The lights catch in the glass pieces hanging from chandeliers.
Then, the VJ prepares. His station is set up next to the large screens that he controls. First, a flash—then, “MODESELEKTOR” shows up in huge letters on a screen. A shadow appears: it’s Sebastian Szary, one half of Modeselektor. Then Gernot Bronsert, the other half, steps up right behind him.
Standing front and center throughout the show, the revolving lights are blinding. Modeselektor is barely visible standing behind their high table set upon the high stage. Each has a computer in his face and lots of small machines that the crowd can’t see. Many, many wires intersect and cross forming an inconceivable pattern in junction with the lights.
As they play a mix of songs, old and new, the VJ controls the visuals on the screens. Lightning flashes; occasionally deep forests are explored.
Modeselektor keeps the energy high. My biggest fear was that the show would sound like their LP on repeat. Although the songs emanating from the speakers sound almost exactly the same, Szary and Bronsert tweak them a bit for a live spectacle.
The speakers carry a lot of bass. Halfway through the set, Szary stepped up to the front of the stage, grabbed a few hands, and popped a bottle of champagne into everyone’s gaping mouths. An hour in, Modeselektor finished their single, “Berlin”while bright colorful lines flash on the screens behind them. Bronsert cues the music off by twisting knobs. The music fades in and out.
“Calm down,” Szary says to the screaming crowd, sweat dripping down his face.
They continue the show for another forty minutes. They play some of their best album songs: “Shipwreck,” “Grillwalker,” and “Blue Clouds.” During the last, their blue album artwork displays on the screens while strips of light crossing the front of their table shine sky blue.
All the while Bronsert and Szary’s feet move from side to side in tune with the beats. They’re backlit by the blinding lights.
Near the end, Modeselektor finish off a song by building up the tempo faster, faster, faster! Until it all collapses and ends. The lights turn on. The crowd is still screaming.
In his altered voice, Szary says, “You want some more?” YES. “Yeah!” he yells, “We have more…”
They finish their set with a charming song that had a lovely melody but a powerful bass line.
Overall, it was a grand affair that took place in an even grander ballroom. Fans erupted at the start of every song, jumping as high as their feet would take them. Live performances tend to spark a surreal experience. Last week Modeselektor managed to please our eyes with bright visuals but, at the core, their music spoke more than their technique.