Sascha Ring cut a stark figure on stage at his recent headline slot at Glasgow's The Arches, his silhouette leaning over the equipment with an air of purpose and offering up the presence of someone very different from the familiar disheveled character on the face of his DJ-Kicks release of last year. Opening with "Arcadia" from 2007's Walls, the performance moved into renditions of newer songs, the arrangements of each piece quickly becoming more complex, with slightly strained, falsetto vocals meeting synths that reached out and washed across the venue. Alongside standout moments like "Song of Los," "Black Water" and the raindrop xylophone of "A Bang in the Void" was the surprise inclusion of Moderat's "Rusty Nails." Though initially welcomed with great applause, it quickly became apparent that the absence of Modeselektor was felt‚ the song lacking the extra kick and the chorus synths seeming somewhat airless.
An electronic artist appearing within the context of a four piece band can be a dangerous move. However, the strength of Apparat's material is undeniable and the night's audience responded with delight to almost every song, whether it came from this year's Devil's Walk or not. However, given that a great deal of Ring's more recent work has come in the form of collaborations or as a DJ, there were times during the performance that suggested he isn't yet comfortable being the front man of a live show. Handling his guitar in a slightly awkward fashion, Ring spoke to the crowd in between tracks before quickly apologising for rambling slightly and stressing that he "doesn't normally talk so much, but now can't shut up."
This slight lack of confidence suits the tender, melancholy vocals that act as the lynchpins to each track. Perhaps, given time, Ring will appreciate what his audience already appears to have grasped—that he is more than capable of crafting intelligent, well-formed music without the help of others.