Hansa Studios, Berlin, Germany - 21 June 2017

"Marsheaux's live sounds never disappoints and always impresses"

Traveling to Berlin to see some sort of Depeche Mode 'Party' gig to coincide with the band playing at the Olympiastadion is becoming something of a habit. And one I'm quite happy to continue with.

Tonight was the third time around. Last time out we got to see a less-than-stellar performance from Nitzer Ebb supported in fine form by De/Vision but the entire evening was a joy to be a part of. Mode members Martin and Fletch even turned up at that one, along with Mute Records founder Daniel Miller. So you never quite know how these 'DM Party' nights can pan out. Steve Naghavi from And One was here (and I was asked by a couple of my friends over from Japan to take photos of them with him). 

Never having made the pilgrimage to the legendary Hansa Studios where (among other legends) Depeche Mode recorded 1984's Some Great Reward and the 1986 follow-up Black Celebration. This was at the the height of their sampling period - something fully encouraged, and utilised, by producer Gareth Jones.

Coming here for tonight's gig then killed two birds with one stone as it were. I got to see Hansa first hand and see Marsheaux perform in the very studio in which Depeche Mode recorded several of their finest tunes (including a naked Martin Gore recording the vocals for Somebody). No such extremes of lack of attire for this evening's performance. As unlikely as it may have been, the band would have been forgiven for shedding their clothes for this was easily one of the hottest gigs I'd ever been to. Berlin was enjoying a minor heat wave and everyone, and I do mean everyone, was sweating uncontrollably. When the band weren't on stage, whenever the opportunity arose, I kept nipping out to a corridor between the studio and the bar where there were windows open to the slightly cooler air outside!

It's probably reasonable to speculate that there's a decent amount of overlap between Depeche Mode and Marsheaux fans. So having them perform tonight was a great choice. Of course, that the Greek-born two-piece are self-confessed DM fans, going so far as recording a cover of Mode's A Broken Frame album a few years ago probably helped with their booking. It was clearly a popular decision.

     Marsheaux, Live Hansa Studios Berlin poster  

And so as not to disappoint the collected DM fans, Marsheaux performed a special Depeche Mode set.

From an hour set that included twelve tracks, no less than seven were by the Mode. All of which came from Marsheaux's A Broken Frame cover album, except for Now, This Is Fun (the b-side to the single See You - which is on the album and was covered tonight). If there were any skeptics here, they would have been put firmly in their place by a glorious rendition of the superb instrumental Nothing To Fear that opened the set. Not only did this version do the original proud, it extended it into a six minute epic and, as far as I was concerned, could have gone on for another six.

Being an instrumental, this track was actually performed by two guys at the back of the stage, before Marsheaux actually took to the stage. These two guys, Nikos Bitzenis and George Geranios, also go by the name of Fotonovela, and it was great to see them lending a helping hand tonight. Not only did it add to the amount of music that could be re-created live, but it enabled Marianthi and Sophie to be up front, focusing on the vocals and more of the melodic lead parts.

Of their own material, only Like A Movie and Now You Are Mine came from their most recent (and IMHO best) album Ath.Lon - which I loved, so I was kinda hoping we might get to hear more from that tonight, but not so. I did yell out for Burning (from Ath.Lon) a couple of times which, given the temperature in the room, would have been entirely in keeping with the atmosphere.

Once again, Marsheaux delivered live. I may not be a rabid fan of their recorded output, but every time I've seen them live they've been both entirely compelling and provided great entertainment. It's largely on account of their clear love for all things electronic and how they go about recreating their recorded sounds on stage. Basslines are deep and resonant, bleeps are sharp, melodies are delivered dexterously, programmed percussion is crisp and punchy. Their live sounds never disappoints and always impresses. I hope it isn't too long before I can see them again, so I can get to hear more of that terrific album from last year.

This was a hot evening - in every sense of the word! Marsheaux went down a storm and turned out to be the perfect teaser for what was to follow at the Olympiastadion the following night. 8/10

Setlist: Nothing To Fear, My Secret Garden, Exit, Monument, Like A Movie, Come On Now, Leave In Silence, Now You Are Mine, Now, This Is Fun, Radial Emotion, Inhale, The Sun And The Rainfall  Encore: See You

Rob Dyer