Moderat puts on a killer live show. For most of this tour, concertgoers will be treated to a laser show and beautiful-looking backdrop lighting and video. Unfortunately, the setup of the Showbox doesn’t allow for some of what Moderat appears to be doing on this tour – but otherwise, as expected, they were fantastic in their recent Seattle appearance on 5/24/16.
With beats matching the foggy stage, they began with downbeat “Ghostmother,” wandering languidly, almost dreamily through this glitchy track. They segued out of it with a solid instrumental break before jumping into “Reminder,” quickly picking up a pace that built from there on. The breakbeat drums layered over the heavy droning bass beautifully set up the more upbeat “Running,” building into an almost rave-like drum line that became “Eating Hooks.” They rested comfortably on that song, the audience gently buzzing as the stage pulsed between an atmospheric fog and light mix and a set of lasers that created a cage-like setting.
The lull did not last long, as “Eating Hooks” cascaded into the deep, eeriness of “Nr. 22,” which pulsed with its gloriously heavy, pulsing bass – only to be followed by an even more powerfully bass-driven number, the incredible “Animal Trails.”
By this point in the show, your reviewer was soaked in sweat, surrounded by countless dancing fools, the feeling one of uninhibited, drum-driven release. Moderat seems a band making music, and making it together, for the sole love of doing so, and the intensity and energy they harness both on their albums in, more impressively, live, is remarkable. The near-capacity Showbox crowd ate it up – while at some shows it’s common to see crowds of people trying to talk over the show or staring at their phones, for Moderat it seemed the crowd had come to engage, to escape, and to leave it all on the dance floor.
The rest of the show sped by, with Moderat flying through “Last Mile,” before going offstage. When they returned they played the almost-anthemic “Bad Kingdom,” to the obvious delight of the crowd, who sang gleefully along with the chorus. That was followed with “The Fool” and “Intruder,” then a bow, after which they announced that rather that retire again backstage, they would just finish up with one last song (“Versions”).
Sadly, “Versions” really was the end of the show. However, the impression they left with one enthusiastic Seattle crowd was clear: this is a fantastic live act, and one you should endeavor to see if at all possible.
(Moderat remains on tour, now in Europe).