Last week Dave and I took a break from listening to this fortnight’s album, and went to see Moderat at my new favourite venue. KOKO in Camden is a converted theatre, and a beautiful gig venue. With at least four layers of balconies holding bars, comfy chairs and more, everyone gets a great view of the stage, and you can choose whether to watch from the dance floor or the comfort of a sofa. Just look at that disco ball!
Having seen Moderat before, I already knew this, but for the benefit of those who haven’t been so lucky: Moderat are an amazing live band. You would have thought that three blokes standing behind sound boards would be a little bit boring, but Moderat fully compensate for this with the best visuals I have ever seen at a gig (second prize goes to Soulwaxmas 2011 with their excellent animated album covers). Largely in moody monochrome, the visuals that ran throughout the set ranged from billowing sheets to animated bulls in space. The display consisted of five screens; four forming a cross, with the fifth behind, giving the visuals some depth and even creating the illusion of 3D at times. My only complaint would be the under-use of KOKO’s disco ball – I would have loved to see that thing in action!
Luckily for me, the bulk of Moderat’s set was taken from their second album II. Having listened to it over the last fortnight, I know it well! We heard pretty much all of II across the gig, and even got some excellent remixed versions of bonus track Last Time (complete with a space matador on the big screens). The few tracks they played from their debut Moderat were also great to dance to, even if I wasn’t familiar them. You don’t need to know the music to have a good time at a Moderat gig; I hadn’t heard of Moderat the first time I saw them, and they still had me hooked.
The highlight of the gig was without a doubt the hypnotic Milk. Dave may be a fan of lengthy slow builders, but I sometimes get fed up of them when I’m just listening to the music. Not so at KOKO – this track is perfect for Moderat’s live style. The visuals were minimal, but ever so effective. Design collective Pfadfinderei used simple white lines to brilliantly build the tension of the track, starting with gentle bars wandering across the screen and culminating in an absolutely mesmerising blast of light and sound. In fact, you should just watch it.
I would recommend the Moderat live experience to absolutely anyone. There are still some dates left on their tour, so why not take a trip to Europe and try it yourself!