Tricky's style has evolved over time, moving from smoky trip-hop towards a more sultry, aggressive rock sound. At Gretchen, he was full of rock star pomp—pulling on his shirt, beating his chest, punching the air repeatedly. For an artist fast approaching 50, his intensity onstage was remarkable. "My Palestine Girl" from 2014's Adrian Thaws was one of the set's best moments, bringing together the dark and melancholic energies that have forever characterised his sound. It was a wild performance, and the Berlin crowd lapped it up.
In a recent interview with XLR8R, Tricky said that he feels he should be playing to bigger crowds. To his credit, there's nothing about his onstage presence or vocal delivery that wouldn't work in a bigger venue. But for whatever reason, the gigs just haven't materialised. That's a shame, not least because Thaws has become a better performer with age. His energy, intensity and showmanship have increased greatly over time and this new Skilled Mechanics set-up suits him perfectly, thrusting him back into the spotlight where he belongs.