Electronic music has had several points in music history where its audience grew to massive proportions. From the techno scene and acid house movement to the big beat explosion of the late ’90s and post-millenial dance rock takeover, there have always been two types of artists that proliferate the scene. One type is rare, where acts like Underworld and The Chemical Brothers find a way to actually perform their music live. The other type only occasionally delivers on engaging the crowd with four-to-the-floor redundancy via the standard cookie cutter DJ set. Thankfully there’s a new generation on the rise that aims to make electro more than a button push. Trentemøller–the electro outfit fronted by Danish projected helmed by Anders Trentemøller–might just have the winning combination.
All photos by Pamela Lin
Headlining Los Angeles’ Henry Fonda Theater, Trentemøller brought an intriguing mix of creepy, cinematic nuance and floor-shaking dance rumble to the stellar venue. His full band was rounded out by five additional members: drummer Henrik Vibskov, bassist Mikael Simpson, guitarist Lisbet Fritze, vocalist Marie Fisker and vocalist Josephine Philip (of the excellent band Darkness Falls.
Opening band Xylos was an auspicious way to begin the evening. Not really a complimentary electronic band that fit with Trentemøller’s sound, but the band was fun. They pulled in the expected late-arriving LA crowd with each progressive song. Perhaps best described as a look back at what Luscious Jackson pioneered in the ’90s, this was a band from out of nowhere, only one you were glad you were there to see.
Then a retractable set of orange, fabric fences rose from the ground to hide the band, a billowing cloud of fog poured out and dark lights backlit the spectacle. An undulating series of keyboards slowly crawled into a mounting crescendo before the fog dissipated and the fences lowered to reveal the band. Roughly eight minutes later, the trick worked to perfection and the crowd was ready to dance into a fever, even if the BPM wasn’t a standard one to do so.
The haunting “…Even Though You’re With Another Girl,” featuring Josephine Philip on lead vocals, was both enrapturing and soothing. Marie Fisker joined her singing for “Sycamore Feeling” to create a beautiful dichotomy. Anders himself was placed front-and-center, surrounded by a variety of synths and sequencers. The rest of the band left to allow him to perform solo on synths and xylophone, screens raised up behind him with ambient image projections and a ring of lights surrounding the equipment dancing along with his melodies. The playful ballet of light-hammered sounds evolved into an epic monstrosity of a dance jam. Following that, “Moan” went from romantic balladry (“See I’ve been thinking too much about you”) into a cathartic release by its conclusion. The crowd was on their feet literally jumping along.
After the set proper, the band returned for only one encore, the Quentin Tarantino worthy, almost surf-band freakout of “Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go!” On this one, the tremulant interlocking sections of the song were punctuated by Fritze as she hammered out bar chords with the stoic power of Johnny Ramone. Mark our words. Within a year or two, Trentemøller will be headlining electro-based music festivals the world over. The cohesion, performance and presentation go along way to fully deliver a “show” the crowd so truly deserves.
Photos: Pamela Lin/MXDWN