If there was any lingering doubt that Anders Trentemøller is now a rock musician rather than a dance-music producer, then this London show, the first date supporting his ‘Lost’ LP (Clash review), settles the matter once and for all.
The Danish artist, who attained international acclaim for his atmospheric techno and haunting deep house in the mid-‘00s, has spent the last few years experimenting with an increasingly guitar-centric sound. And while he has been touring with a live band for a while now, tonight’s gig in many senses encapsulates the final stage of the musician’s transition from club to gig context.
The glorious ‘Still On Fire’, a brooding yet lively instrumental cut from the new album, opens the show, as the band emerges one-by-one on the dimly lit stage, with only the occasional burst of white light offering a glimpse of their features.
It’s a stripped-back, shades-of-grey aesthetic that feels more post-punk than anything else. A vibe reinforced by the arrival of Trentemøller himself, made-up in eye-shadow and lip-stick. Towering over his mass of Moog synthesizers and keyboards centre stage, he looks as if he might be the Robert Smith of the post-techno generation.
Tracks from the new album get an airing, with guitarist Marie Fisker doubling up on singing duties on the numerous vocal cuts. Over the course of numbers like ‘Candy Tongue’, ‘Gravity’ and the particularly impressive ‘River Of Life’, her charismatic presence fills the stage.
Trentemøller might be the glue that holds the show together, manipulating the sounds from the instruments around him, but Fisker’s energy – whether bounding around the stage or stood, picking her guitar, pouring her heart into the microphone – sees her become just as much the star as the main man himself.
The new material, with its blend of shoegaze-y rock and ephemeral electronica, goes down well. But the older tracks, especially those from Trentemøller's seminal debut album ‘The Last Resort’, receive a rapturous reception.
Cuts such as ‘Vamp’ and ‘Miss You’ become even more impressive than their studio counterparts; the live instrumental renditions, with their very occasional moments of imperfection, are imbued with a raw edge. What’s more, each track becomes a new version of itself, as it’s drawn-out in long, almost psychedelic, concluding jams.
This band is either amazingly well rehearsed, or its members possess an astounding ability to improvise around Trentemøller’s ever-modulating rhythms. Whichever it is, as a cover of The Cure’s ‘Lullaby’ segued into ‘Moan’ brings the main section of the show to a close, the packed house is visibly bowled over.
The troupe returns to the stage for a two song encore: a spine-tingling rendition of ‘...Even Though You’re With Another Girl’ – which might have some of the most heart-breaking lyrics ever penned – and a wigged-out version of ‘Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go!!!’. It’s a perfect end to a fantastic performance, extolling Trentemøller’s inimitable ability to combine the forlorn, raw emotion of rock with unearthly, transgressive fields of electronics.
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Words: Peter Adkins