The atmosphere in Munich's Backstage Werk just before the opening act to the Mouse on Mars was very chilled. People sat on the stairs or scattered themselves over the dance floor while low-fi ambient tunes came from the speakers. It wasn't loud, you had to try hard to hear the people mumble.
I have no idea who the opening act was, and their first tune was very nice and groovy. Then ensued a noise explosion, one could only pity the electronic equipment that was being asked to perform in ways that may be described as "everything else than you expect", and of course, the base beat shook the building; I am quite sure they didn't use treble at all, but I may also simply have been unable to hear it. Plus, it seemed to us that the musicians catered for what may be a widespread decrease of attention span: it was noticable how they jumped from one thing to the next, not leaving them (or their listeners) any time to get in the groove.
My brother and I went outside for a bit and talked about today's music and its simplicity. We postulated the repetitiveness as the basis of a mass movement, considered "scene" clubs that played heavy techno to an audience that is so entirely different to who historically frequented such musical performances, and in general tried to avoid assuming a position between simplifying society and accepting that individual freedom is as eclectic as can be.
When MoM opened, they continued pretty much in line with their openers and half way through the first tune, I started to wonder how long I would last, or when it would be reasonable to step outside again. I had been a little afraid this would happen, having bought and listened to their latest album Parastrophics in preparation of the concert and not being able to get into it.
However, what then followed blew us away. Still heavy, still all over the place, but now they were developing sound scenes, ripping them apart, having fun playing with and teasing the audience, while putting on a groove that inevitably made your muscles twitch with the beat.
David Bowie called MoM "the next big thing" and I have to give it to them: MoM have always had a certain aura of "that's what your music is like? we can improve on that!" to them, and yesterday, they continued along those lines with astounding consistency, and it felt fresh.
It also felt real. They weren't just pushing buttons and computers making music, they were making music and the computers were their instruments. Between the two founding members of MoM sat Dodo Nkishi, drummer and microphone artist, and if you don't believe, fast, big breakbeat can be performed live, well, you're wrong.
Most everyone in the room was dancing. And while I was more swaying in awe, watching and wondering how the heck they are doing what they are doing, I couldn't contain the bouncing any longer. They came back for an encore and there was no more stopping the crowd, Thomas or me.
Three tracks later, they waved goodbye and left, but a bunch of us simply continued to dance. Thomas questioned who would last longer and I started yelling loudly for another encore. The lights turned on, I considered it a slap in the face, but I did not stop yelling. Others tuned in. And then the lights went off and the band came back.
Following their 2.5 hour show, gosh was I exhausted. It was a magnificent show. If you aren't afraid of big beat electronica and you take pleasure in nonstandard art, I heartily recommend you ensure that MoM aren't soon playing near you without you there.
PS: MoM will play at the (Düsseldorf Open-Source Festival)[http://www.open-source-festival.de/en/] on 30 June 2012!
PPS: Now I listen to Parastrophics and I am really enjoying it.
NP: Mouse on Mars: Parastrophics