Gernot Bronsert and Sebastian Szary present their powerful new album at the first of two homecoming shows.
For around 90 minutes, Szary and Gernot Bronsert, accompanied by their longtime visual collaborators, Pfadfinderei, performed tracks from their new album, Who Else?. As Ryan Keeling noted in his review, the LP marks a return to the dance floor, following a lengthy period recording and touring as Moderat, their radio-friendly partnership with fellow Berliner Apparat. Some of the tracks on Who Else? are tough and confrontational, which, when combined with Szary's cocky onstage antics, helped whip up the atmosphere on Thursday. At one point, Szary walked out to the front of the stage and gave the crowd the finger with both hands. They gleefully responded in kind.
Tucked away in the Berghain building, somewhere between ground level and the main dance floor, Halle am Berghain is arguably starker and more imposing than the rest of the club. The sound was excellent, too, handling Modeselektor's extreme bassweight with ease. During "I Am Your God," Szary screeched the track's title over high-pitched synths and thundering kick drums, his crazed performance causing my girlfriend to turn to me and remark on the obvious influence of The Prodigy. Roughly 30 minutes later, in rolled the proof—as the epic stabs of "No Good (Start The Dance)" crashed through Halle, the words "thank you Keith Flint" rolled across the screen. It was a touching moment.
Not everything landed so well. Modeselektor's in-your-face sound means some of their tracks can come across as cringey, which wasn't helped on the night by Szary's faux-arrogant persona. A dubstep-style cut featuring live vocals from the Monkeytown artist Catnapp took itself too seriously, while a synthy breakdown shortly after 9 PM was too long and soppy. But these moments were in the minority. Of all the new tracks, "Wealth," featuring the UK rapper Flohio, sounded best, its loud synth lassoes and catchy chorus sending Halle into a spin. By 9:40 PM, after a couple encores and a cry of "Morgen es frauertag!," Modeselektor were gone. As some people rushed to the cloakroom, others stayed, keen to extend the party as long as possible. A Billie Holiday medley played over the system, and everyone swayed and sang along.
Photo credit / Yazdan Kafush