Live Review – Trentemoller

SWG3 – 25.01.16

There was no better venue for this gig. Not in Glasgow, not anywhere else I can imagine. The intimate-warehouse setting of SWG3 complements Trentemoller’s unique collage of electronic ambient, post-rock and dance music so perfectly you’d be forgiven for thinking you hadn’t just walked into a meticulously directed gig scene for a film.

The interplay of the live band with Trentemoller’s warm, eclectic electronic instrumentation filled the room and had everyone involved completely entranced – like a masterful DJ, he kept the crowd at whichever pace he wanted them for the entire duration of the night. Ambient lullabies followed hard-hitting minimal techno and indie ballads seamlessly, with the songs played spanning an iconic 11-year career. Lighting played a seminal role in the construction of the night, with lasers, spots and flashing symbols in the background set to the tone of the music with remarkable precision, drawing maximum attention from the crowd. Not once did the setup seem gratuitous, impractical or unnecessary, which is more than can be said for many electronic artists’ live shows and a feat in and of itself.  

A charismatic on-stage personality from Trentemoller himself was certainly the main surprise of the night – from his music you’d expect a melancholy ambient-musician stereotype methodically and seriously staring down at a laptop and keyboard, but this gig was filled with superb entertainment and crowd engagement – at some points completely vaulting the line between entertainer and performer. This of course comes with the slight drawback that it can trivialise the music being played as a backdrop for “fun” audience interaction, and while this did occur on one or two occasions it wasn’t to a significant extent, with playfulness and artistry being balanced fairly well for the vast majority of the night.  

All in all, Trentemoller is one of the most exciting live electronic musicians touring right now, and I’d recommend him to anyone with any interest in one of the many (many) genres he incorporates into his sound.

As one last note: Trentemoller, on the off chance you’re reading this, I just have one thing to say: playing Take Me Into Your Skin last was a *very* strong move. I almost felt like a real human being for the last few minutes of your set. Thanks for that.   

[Nour El-Issa – @dimredspectre]

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