live sounds never disappoints and always impresses"
to Berlin to see some sort of Depeche Mode
'Party' gig to coincide with the band playing at the Olympiastadion is
becoming something of a habit. And one I'm quite happy to continue
Tonight was the third time around. Last time out
we got to see a less-than-stellar performance from Nitzer
Ebb supported in fine form by De/Vision but the entire
evening was a joy to be a part of. Mode members Martin and
Fletch even turned up at that one, along with Mute Records founder
Daniel Miller. So you never quite know how these 'DM Party' nights can
pan out. Steve Naghavi from And
One was here (and I was asked by a couple of my friends over
from Japan to take photos of them with him).
Never having made the pilgrimage to the legendary Hansa Studios where
(among other legends) Depeche Mode recorded 1984's Some
Great Reward and the 1986 follow-up Black
Celebration. This was at the the height of their sampling
period - something fully encouraged, and utilised, by producer Gareth
Coming here for tonight's gig then killed two birds with one stone as
it were. I got to see Hansa first hand and see Marsheaux
perform in the very studio in which Depeche Mode recorded several of
their finest tunes (including a naked Martin Gore recording the vocals
for Somebody). No such
extremes of lack of attire for this evening's performance. As unlikely
as it may have been, the band would have been forgiven for shedding
their clothes for this was easily one of the hottest gigs I'd ever
been to. Berlin was enjoying a minor heat wave and everyone, and I do
mean everyone, was sweating uncontrollably. When the band weren't on
stage, whenever the opportunity arose, I kept nipping out to a
corridor between the studio and the bar where there were windows open
to the slightly cooler air outside!
It's probably reasonable to speculate that there's a decent amount of
overlap between Depeche Mode and Marsheaux fans. So having them
perform tonight was a great choice. Of course, that the Greek-born
two-piece are self-confessed DM fans, going so far as recording a
cover of Mode's A Broken Frame
album a few years ago probably helped with their booking. It was
clearly a popular decision.
And so as not to disappoint the collected DM fans, Marsheaux performed
a special Depeche Mode set.
From an hour set that included twelve tracks, no less than seven were
by the Mode. All of which came from Marsheaux's A
Broken Frame cover album, except for Now, This Is Fun
(the b-side to the single See You - which is on the album and
was covered tonight). If there were any skeptics here, they would have
been put firmly in their place by a glorious rendition of the superb
instrumental Nothing To Fear that opened the set. Not only did
this version do the original proud, it extended it into a six minute
epic and, as far as I was concerned, could have gone on for another
Being an instrumental, this track was actually performed by two guys
at the back of the stage, before Marsheaux actually took to the stage.
These two guys, Nikos Bitzenis and George Geranios, also go by the
name of Fotonovela, and it was great to see them lending a helping
hand tonight. Not only did it add to the amount of music that could be
re-created live, but it enabled Marianthi and Sophie to be up front,
focusing on the vocals and more of the melodic lead parts.
Of their own material, only Like A
Movie and Now You Are Mine
came from their most recent (and IMHO best)
- which I loved, so I was kinda hoping we might get to hear more from
that tonight, but not so. I did yell out for Burning
(from Ath.Lon) a couple of
times which, given the temperature in the room, would have been
entirely in keeping with the atmosphere.
Once again, Marsheaux delivered live. I may not be a rabid fan of
their recorded output, but every
time I've seen them live they've been both entirely compelling and
provided great entertainment. It's largely on account of their clear
love for all things electronic and how they go about recreating their
recorded sounds on stage. Basslines are deep and resonant, bleeps are
sharp, melodies are delivered dexterously, programmed percussion is
crisp and punchy. Their live sounds never disappoints and always
impresses. I hope it isn't too long before I can see them again, so I
can get to hear more of that terrific
album from last year.
This was a hot
evening - in every sense of the word! Marsheaux went down a storm
and turned out to be the perfect teaser for what was to follow at the
Olympiastadion the following night.
Setlist: Nothing To Fear, My Secret
Garden, Exit, Monument, Like A Movie, Come On Now, Leave In Silence,
Now You Are Mine, Now, This Is Fun, Radial Emotion, Inhale, The Sun
And The Rainfall Encore: See