Though certainly not the dark horse by any electronic music connoisseur's standards, Trentemøller's performance Friday night at the Ogden Theatre was one for the books. Ribbon banners, flash-popping strobes, projectors, and a full five-piece band backed the Danish IDM musician, whose pass through Denver is just stop number eight on the North American tour.
At 9:15 p.m., you'd have thought the Ogden was closed down for the night and the band that was about to take the stage was really just going to call it a night. Such was not the case, though it must be noted that I have never once felt like I had to whisper while sitting in a venue as the opening band prepped their gear. That band was Xylos, and though the venue felt empty, cold and quiet, but it wasn't long before people caught on that the openers were in fact doing their job: Warming the crowd up.
Somewhat crammed at the front of the stage, the five-piece opening act offered up its version of East Coast indie rock. Although the floor was empty at the start of the set, by the time the group introduced itself, making it known that this was their first time in Denver, Xylos had developed a credible attraction as more and more people started catching on.
This Brooklyn-based group possesses a rockable, dance-rooted sound, and Trentemøller picking them up for tour is going to get them exposure to crowds that may, or may not, typically pick out bands like them. It's safe to say that last night they made a few more fans, this writer being one of them.
Trentemøller's set was scheduled for 10:15, giving the Ogden thirty minutes between the first act and the headliner. As time ticked on and more people filed in, the floor directly in front of the stage filled, and the balcony railings began to have more and more arms hanging over them, fans in anticipation of the Danish headliner. The black-draped stage set-up remained a mystery until the band emerged and vertical ribbon blinds arose from the floors, shielding the band from immediate photography and view.
Right out of the gate, "The Mash and the Fury," from the most recent album Into The Great Wide Yonder rose out of the silence, like Pink Floyd's "Time." It wasn't until the guitar cames screeching in and the track turned its attention towards the composer, Anders Trentemøller, that it was noticable how vastly different the song structure had become. What started out as a rising tone laid gently underneath keyboards, turned into to a full on guitar track, complete with a crashing cymbal to emphasize the breaks and drops.
The ribbons fell and rose throughout the show, as well as the projector screens that served as the backdrop. The projections weren't at the level of an Amon Tobin show, but they did add a certain pizazz when a spotlight would search the stage, passing through the mugs of each member.
Trentemøller with a live band is a sight to behold. This guy has more talent in his mallet-wielding hands than most electronic music composers do in their entire body, and adding the live element gives the music a breath of fresh air. It can't be easy to tab your music for a full band when you've produced it all by yourself. On "Take Me Into Your Skin," one of the final tracks before the venue-erupting "Moan" was played, Trentemøller sat on stage alone with his xylophone mallets dancing across the keys. The band slowly trickled in for the encore, "Silver Surfer," before taking a gracious bow and exiting the stage.
After all was said and done, every person left looking slightly more intelligent and oddly enough smarter. They say music can sooth even the most savage beast, and this could've tamed a Hydra to cuddle with a puppy.
Personal Bias: "Take Me Into Your Skin" is the song that turned me onto Trentemøller, and the person who introduced it to me was in the crowd. All degrees came to the Ogden, and this is in the top three shows I've seen all year. Random Detail:The audio was spot on for Trentemøller, while some distortion was heard for Xylos. But for Trentemøller, it was perfect. All instruments were sound checked properly and it came out studio quality. By The Way:Xylos had a Lite-Brite at its merch booth with their logo lit up. That takes me back to 1991.
Trentemøller Ogden Theatre - 10/21/11 Denver, CO
The mash and the bury Shades of marble Even though Gun club Past the beginning of the end Vamp Sycamore feeling The very last resort Miss you Take me into your skin Moan
ENCORE Silver Surfer
If you like this story, consider signing up for our email newsletters.
SHOW ME HOW
You have successfully signed up for your selected newsletter(s) - please keep an eye on your mailbox, we're movin' in!
Follow Backbeat on Twitter: @westword_music