Modeselektor return to U.S. soil & pound our ears with their new material at a sold-out Echoplex

ModeselektorBy Josh Herwitt //

Modeselektor //
Echoplex – Los Angeles
April 4th, 2019 //

As electronic music continues to evolve in 2019, it appears as if the EDM craze that once was has started to fade. Sure, dance-centric festivals such as Ultra, EDC and Electric Zoo continue to thrive, but the amount has slowly tapered off over the last few years with hip-hop and R&B grabbing more of the mainstream spotlight lately.

So, where does a veteran electronic act like Modeselektor fit into the equation these days?

We’re not quite sure to be honest, but after making music together for more than two decades, Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary are still selling out clubs with their dark, pulsating beats and brash, in-your-face sounds.

The Berlin IDM (short for “Intelligent Dance Music”) duo is a favorite of Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke’s believe it or not and yet, has only released four studio albums to go along with a handful of EPs since forming in 1996. Although to be completely fair, their side project with fellow German electronic musician Apparat (born Sascha Ring) under the name Moderat has also been quite the success in recent years as we have witnessed on more than one occasion, including the 2016 edition of Lightning in a Bottle (read our festival review here) and a stellar performance at The Mayan (read our show review here) in 2017 after playing Coachella’s first weekend (read our review here).

Modeselektor

One of those four LPs is Who Else, the eight-track release after a nearly eight-year layoff that dropped in February on Modeselektor’s own Monkeytown Records as the follow-up to 2011’s Monkeytown, which earned them a closing set in the Mojave Tent at Coachella a few months later where Yorke surprisingly joined them onstage for “Shipwreck” during Weekend 2.

At LA’s Echoplex last Thursday, we didn’t have the fortune of getting another surprise cameo from Yorke, but it was intriguing to see a sold-out crowd welcome Bronsert and Szary back to the City of Angels under the Modeselektor moniker for the first time in a long time (and on a school night no less). And considering they were only stopping through two U.S. cities — LA and NYC the night before at Elsewhere in Brooklyn — on this tour, the show felt a little extra special for those of us in attendance due to the circumstances.

Bronsert and Szary made mention of the jet lag that they were experiencing more than once, and with both now being of a certain age, it’s not quite as easy as it once was for them to get onstage night after night and do their thing. They certainly overcame it, as Szary jumped on top of their DJ booth several times while performing to engage an audience that conveyed its appreciation for his efforts (he even took a cigarette break onstage later on, too).

Who Else runs only 34 minutes long, with “Wealth”, “I Am Your God” and “Who” serving as its three singles, which meant that Modeselektor had time to sprinkle in some of their older material throughout a 17-song gig lasting roughly 90 minutes. One of those tracks was “The Black Block” off their 2007 sophomore full length Happy Birthday!, while even two remixed covers — Shed’s “Dark Planet” and Headhunter’s “Prototype” — were on the setlist. But the finale is what stuck out most, as Modeselektor showed Yorke some more love with an Atoms for Peace cover of “Default” on the supergroup’s lone record Amok that came out more than six years ago. It was a fitting choice given the connection Yorke has had with the outfit, and one that proved Bronsert and Szary, nevertheless, have what it takes to keep us right on our toes after all these years.

Setlist:
Grillwalker
Dark Planet (Modeselektor remix) (Shed cover)
WMF Love Song
Kalif Storch
German Clap
The Black Block
I Am Your God
(Unknown)
Prügelknabe
Wealth
Prototype (Modeselektor’s Broken Handbrake Remix) (Headhunter cover)
One United Power
Who
Wake Me Up When It’s Over
Berlin

Encore:
Blue Clouds
Default (Atoms for Peace cover)

Modeselektor

Modeselektor

Modeselektor

At LA’s Mayan Theater, Moderat transport their fans to another world

ModeratBy Josh Herwitt //

Moderat //
Mayan Theater – Los Angeles
April 20th, 2017 //

One of the best performances we saw at Coachella (read our review here) this year was undoubtedly Moderat’s. As nighttime fell on the expansive polo field, the Berlin-based supergroup mesmerized the crowd inside the Mojave Tent with remixes of Jon Hopkins’ “Abandon Window” and “Eating Hooks” off their 2016 critically acclaimed LP III, which ranked as my favorite album of the year. It was one of those scintillating sets that often remind us why we keep returning to the Empire Polo Club in mid-April — and one we’ll remember for a long time.

But when Goldenvoice announced its Coachella sideshows in and around the three-day, two-weekend festival, it was natural to get excited about Moderat’s headlining show on 4/20 at the Mayan Theater in downtown LA. Comprised of Apparat’s Sascha Ring as well as Modeselektor members Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary, the trio combines elements of house, minimal techno and Intelligent Dance Music (aka IDM) into a sound that’s solely their own. Because at a time when DJs have solidified themselves as the industry’s new rock stars for now, Moderat serve as a refreshing departure from the EDM avalanche that’s become so ubiquitous over the past several years.

Moderat

At The Mayan, Ring, Bronsert and Szary tailored the setlist primarily around III cuts such as “Ghostmother”, “Reminder” and “Animal Trails”, but it was older material, specifically “Les Grandes Marches” and “No. 22” from Moderat’s debut studio album, that closed the set and kept even the biggest fans on their toes. In fact, up to that point, they had yet to play a song from their sophomore full length, with the entire set stemming from their other two records. After a brief encore break though, that drought ended as they unleashed back-to-back songs from II, including fan favorite “Bad Kingdom”, which offers one of the coolest audio-visual experiences you’ll find at any concert, electronic or not (see for yourself here).

Moderat subsequently circled back to III, performing “Intruder” before exiting the stage to a rousing applause. Yet, when the house lights didn’t come on right away, the suspense began to build once again. Less than a minute later, the three-piece reemerged, giving the audience more than its money’s worth. Two-encore shows are usually reserved for high-profile groups with extensive catalogs like Radiohead, but Moderat have never played by any rules. Rather, they indulged us with one final song from III, treating our ears to the slow burn of “The Fool” as the clock neared midnight. For almost two hours on this night, Moderat transported us to another world. And for those of us who had just come back from spending three days in the desert, that’s exactly what we needed to cure those post-festival blues.

Setlist:
Ghostmother
A New Error
Running
Running (Shed Remix)
Abandon Window (Moderat remix) (Jon Hopkins cover)
Eating Hooks
Eating Hooks (Siriusmo Remix)
Rusty Nails
Reminder
Animal Trails
Les Grandes Marches
No. 22

Encore #1:
Milk
Bad Kingdom
Intruder

Encore #2:
The Fool