Modeselektor – Music Hall of Williamsburg – April 17, 2012
The only time Sebastian Szary, one half of the Berlin duo Modeselektor, talked to the audience last night was through a microphone with the pitch lowered to Arnold Schwarzenegger levels of bass. It made simple phrases like “Hello, New York” and “We are Modeselektor” sound like chest-thumping battle cries, while also providing a metaphor of sorts for their music. Everything is filtered through and distorted by machines, even simple introductions to the audience. It’s as though their music is the result of endless tinkering with machines they never completely control.
Their first of two nights in New York City, Modeselektor packed Music Hall of Williamsburg with beats, lights, bass and hoards of sweaty bodies. There wasn’t a single person standing still in the building by the time they fired up their zigzagging strips of neon lights, keeping them secret until a few songs into the show. Each song seemed to build off the previous one’s momentum, like a machine working faster and faster.
Watching Szary, donning a beret, mouth along to Miss Platinum’s verses in their song “Berlin” was one of the few moments that broke up the pace. Per Modeselektor tradition, Szary brought out bottles of champagne to spray the audience. The set finished with their backdrop sputtering out like a malfunctioning computer shutting itself down, before returning for a lengthy encore that concluded with “A New Error,” a song they did in collaboration with Apparat under the moniker Moderat. —Dan Rickershauser
(Modeselektor plays The Bowery Ballroom tonight.)