Apoptygma Berzerk, Temple Bar Music Centre, Dublin, 3rd March 2002
This was the night when the "futurepop" scene finally hit Dublin properly. In contrast with the truly abysmal turnout for last year's Inertia and The Nine gig, the TBMC was this time packed with the biggest Goff turnout in years. An entire forest of rubber trees must have destroyed to create the outfits and the amount of hair extensions on display was breathtaking!
The night kicked off with the young Echo Image, whose poppy and fairly lightweight sound got the crowd warmed up well and people dancing. They looked really good too, the male lead singer and female backing vocalist/keyboard player attracting quite a few admiring gazes between them.
No Comment, on the other hand, sent much of the crowd to the bar for a while. With little movement on stage and a sound that was bog standard electro with a really fake techno element creeping into their intros that never lasted more than a few seconds.
Then came the main event, Apoptygma Berzerk, showing more than ever that they're really not sure how they're supposed to act live. They're virtually a techno act at this stage, and while they can perform most of their stuff live (as long as there's a good sprinkling of their old stuff), they, as a band, look fairly daft onstage.
Stefan can pull off the front man act fairly well, though his chunky stature shows that he's been spending far too much time in front of a mixing desk! However, the keyboard player managed to forget he was supposed to be playing on a couple of occasions and raised his hands to clap and the music kept playing! Come on, everyone knows how this stuff works these days; it's all backing tapes and samples, so why pretend? Finally there's the gobshite guitarist with the dreads and the bad makeup. While his playing added the live feel to the sound, his stage presence was irritating in the extreme. His biggest sin had to be his constant "clap your hands" motions, as if he was at some kind of festival, to the crowd that was dancing like crazy.
Musically, it was fun, with a good mix of stuff concentrating mainly on "Harmonizer" with the likes of 'Suffer in silence', 'Until the end of the world', 'Unicorn', 'Spindizzy' and the extended techno work-out 'OK amp, let me out' keeping the crowd raving like bastards (though there really was some of the worst dancing ever on display - myself included - it's nice to see the Goff scene chill out and really have fun). After that, most of the other stuff was from "Welcome to Earth" - such as 'Starsign', 'Kathy's song' and 'Non-stop violence' - with some of the older stuff like 'deep red', 'bitch' and the one track that really got the crowd going - 'Love never dies' - in its Carl Orff sampling greatness.
All in all, it was a fun way to spend a Sunday night and it would really be great if the same numbers could be guaranteed for future attempts to boost the scene in Ireland. A bit of a disappointment was the fact that there was no sign that any kind of crossover crowd was attracted - not one raver in sight.
Girl the Bourgeois Individualist