We picked Modeselektor’s Monkeytown as our favorite album of 2011 and have been anticipating the live incarnation of the record for some time now. Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary have garnered a reputation for their live show and did not disappoint. In fact, this was one of the best live shows I’ve been to in years. Opener Low Limit was a perfect choice to ease the crowd into the headlining act. Serving as half of the San Francisco-based production team Lazer Sword, Low Limit (aka Bryant Rutledge) at one point appeared to have the entire crowd under the control of his glitch and bass. Highlights of his set included bass-heavy “Trapperkeeper” and a remix of Nosaj Thing’s “Quest.”
Modeselektor are known for a quirky sense of humor and appropriated entered the stage after the theme song from Alf played in its entirety. The stage set-up included a performance space littered with knobs, pads, switches, pedals, and neon lights, and featured two off-kilter screens in the backdrop with rear projection video, which played synched visual loops. Our hopes of a Thom Yorke appearance ended shortly after the Radiohead frontman’s distorted voice supplemented the blaring beats that are still making my ears ring. We were also hoping for LA-based rapper Busdriver to join them on stage for Monekytown highlight “Pretentious Friends,” which was also a highlight live. I suppose Szary’s mouthing of the Miss Platinum verses from “Berlin” may have made up for the absences. Other highlights included the ascending/descending bass line of “German Clap” and dark and glitch-happy “Evil Twin.”
As they do at most shows, Bronsert and Szary showered the crowd with champagne, as if celebrating New Year’s. Once the duo ended their set, the crowd enticed an encore, which featured “New Error,” the lead track from their collaboration with Apparat under the moniker Moderat. Modeselektor only planned two NYC shows during a short U.S. tour between their Coachella performances. If you have a chance to catch them live any time soon, we couldn’t recommend a better show.