Friday, 14 February 2014

Moderat @ Albert Hall, 07.02.14

Manchester’s latest nightlife venue comes in the form of a Grade II listed Wesleyan chapel unearthed after 40 years in disrepair and is the latest Trof project, the same personnel behind Gorilla and Deaf Institute. A former chapel restored to minimum health and safety regulation requirements, who would host an event in such a setting? None other than ramshackle entrepreneurs Warehouse Project, having relinquished their grip on the media frenzied Victoria Warehouse this season, turn their resourceful hands to Late Night Sessions.

Tonight’s headliners are Moderat, a conglomeration of Apparat and the duo known as Modeselektor, who first collaborated in 2002. The release of their second album, aptly named II, sees them tour the UK. To set the scene for those of you unfortunate enough to have not experienced Moderat, they were voted #1 Live Act by Resident Advisor in 2009 and are not strangers to showcasing innovative special effects. Tonight was no different. A cross setup of projection screens meant that a three dimensional experience was in store for those lucky enough to fit downstairs. Views from the balcony were still show-worthy, however the stage location meant the majority of the effects were lost on half the audience.

Highlights included giant hands clasped over an emanating bright white light. In the age where so many DJs play in front of a crowd with an obscured view of a pre-released video and the top of their head, it was certainly a breath of fresh air to be struck by such visuals. Playing a set of 90 minutes with a multi-track encore, they certainly give their fans their money’s worth. ‘Bad Kingdom’ featured amongst many of their new album tracks, all performed slightly differently to recorded versions in this live setting. Vocals from Sascha Ring (Apparat) could have been louder to contrast better with the tracks, but aside from that the trio played a flawless set.

Support came from countryman Anstam and Manchester’s own Illum Sphere. It would be unfair to comment on their performances as the extravagant Moderat set-up meant both were made to play on the balcony with limited volume and effects, not to mention the audience acted much like a flash mob for Moderat’s set.

With regards to Late Night Sessions’ aim to create a unique event experience, I believe they succeeded and then some. However I’m uncertain of the longevity of the project, as a decrepit Grade II listed chapel encompassed with minimal balcony balustrades may prove too much for Manchester’s carefree music-loving crowd.

Words: Charles Veys
Photos: Jody Hartley Photography

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