Arguably the most highly anticipated night of the Warehouse Project season each year, December 11th saw the return of Modeselektor to Manchester with the last date of their ‘Monkeytown’ show. The German legends of techno always provide one of the more tasteful experiences of a club night an impressive lineup, an audio and visual barrage to the senses and loyal fans who love the acts they’ve come to see. Modeselektion may not have the big, commercial names of other nights but it certainly make a unique experience.
Skream’s slowed down 130BPM set, downloadable here, helped get the night going with plenty of Boddika and Joy O tracks skillfully mixed and enticing a large audience to get down early. It was Squarepusher’s live set which really kicked things into gear however with his frantic drum and bass supplemented by a manic lights show. The veteran performer doubtlessly found a whole host of new fans by igniting the atmosphere and embodying the hardcore, electric spirit with which the Modeselektion nights are always put together.
Kieran Hebden then took to the stage with a DJ set which was a bit calmer then the acts either side of him. Finding a good, relaxed rhythm he played a set of electro and housey dance tracks allowing the audience to enjoy themselves and dance at their own speed without the full intensity of what was to come. Pearson Sound also deserves a mention for playing the graveyard slot and choosing some great tracks to finish the night off with. His growing popularity and obvious talent means he will be having a busy 2012, you suspect.
Modeselektor’s appearance, however, was nothing to be shied away from. When great acts curate massive lineups you can sometimes forget that they’re there to perform as well but tonight the anticipation was all for them and they delivered with a tremendous set and and outstanding visual displays. Although the full force of their music, the heavy beats and thundering bass coming through the speakers seem to create a new genre in almost every track, can be heard to keep pace with there is never any doubt that they are in full control. A lot of the tracks came from, probably their most popular album, Happy Birthday! from 2007 as well as their new album Monkeytown and almost all shared that angular bass and ethereal melodies which define part of their hugely popular sound. It is not exaggerating that the full live show is a kind of sensual experience; the sound and sight of it is fantastic but you can also feel something in the music, like the oscillating, heart monitor like bass of ‘Sucker Pin’ which ties you in.
Performances like this remind you that, even in superclubs, there is always art in music.