Review: VNV Nation, Modulate, Imperative Reaction (17.05.2007, Hannover)

Foto: Sebastian Steinfort

VnV Nation are on the road again promoting their newest album “Judgement”. Responsible for opening the dance floor are two bands, Modulate and Imperative Reaction, both of which, to be honest, I had never heard about. Therefore, my words will be rather short regarding them.

Foto: Sebastian Steinfort

Foto: Sebastian Steinfort

Around 19h48, earlier than expected, DJ Echo’s project from Manchester, Modulate, came on stage. Unlike other concerts of the tour, this night he was alone, standing in the middle of the stage with his synthesizer. With a mere half an hour to play, he tried to get the crowd moving, which he eventually did, for people started to get closer to the stage. The songs were mainly characterized by their industrial tunes and strong beat. One of the moments that I clearly remember is the ‘Skullfuck’ song, from the recent EP. That kind of material, it appears to me, has the potential to be quite successful on the industrial/electro arena.

Foto: Sebastian Steinfort

Foto: Sebastian Steinfort

Imperative Reaction would eventually take it from there and did their job heating up the crowd some more. By now Capitol was getting crowded and the audience was getting more focused on what was happening on stage. This band comes all the way from Los Angeles and has been touring with VnV before, like in 2005. Their sound is not as heavy as the first act, showing more evidences of EBM and a melodic touch. It does not bring something completely new to the scene, but they appeared to be good at what they do. Ted Phelps, singer, was sharing the stage with synths player, Adam, and Gabriel on the electronic percussion. Their also rather short set list (six songs) featured songs like ‘Colapse’, ‘Giving it a Chance’ and a new song which had a catchy chorus.

Foto: Sebastian Steinfort

Foto: Sebastian Steinfort

Around nine thirty the headliners did the honours. Anyone who is into this kind of music (EBM, Future Pop, some industrial reminiscences) knows that VnV Nation is a show not to miss! You get professionalism, lovely tunes and lyrics and two guys that demonstrate at every passing minute that they love what they are doing and that the audience is really why they are here and to whom they are so grateful. Can it get any better than that? The venue was packed and the set list was brilliant, mixing old material with the new songs from “Judgement” (released last April): ‘The Farthest Star’, the great classic ‘Darkangel’, the new ‘Testament’ and ‘Descent’, this one a slower but very heavy song. Right in the beginning Ronan stopped everything to, as always, chat with the crowd and ask where those people were coming from. Magdeburg, Berlin and, what do you know, Ireland apparently. That person had an Irish flag and Ronan, as a good Irish man, made sure that the flag was on stage in no time and that it got a special standing out place. Back to the old times, ‘Legion’, then ‘Chrome’ and ‘Nemesis’ – excellent idea to gather these powerful songs together.

Foto: Sebastian Steinfort

Foto: Sebastian Steinfort

Calming things down a bit, it was time for ‘Illusion’, a more sentimental tune also from the latest (which was dedicated to a friend they said had travelled a thousand of miles to be there that night). Still, Ronan and Mark rather having the people dancing and moving, so they got the pace back with the ‘oldies’ ‘Standing’ and ‘Honour’, this one of my all time favourites live! The beautiful ‘Perpetual’, from their previous “Matter and Form” would close the first part of the set. The band leaves the stage and for more than 5 minutes the crowd screamed and clapped out loud. I personally liked to see that, unlike other bands who the crowd barely requests back, VnV made sure that the audience really wanted more. And more they had! The two gentlemen came in first alone and interacted strongly with the crowd, then followed by the two people who are playing the keyboards on this tour, André and Marco. They played a song that I could not identify, though it might have been ‘Solitary’ and then ‘Epicentre’, the great opening track of “FuturePerfect”. Another break and another encore. Ronan Harris asked if people wanted more and ‘Homeward’ followed. He stated that that was their “loudest concert here in Hannover” and that the audience was “awesome” – always good to hear. ‘Carry You’ was played and the band left the stage once again. It was not the end though. Mark and Ronan came back one more final time and by themselves played the lovely ‘Beloved’. I admit I was still expecting ‘Electronaut’ as the final track, but that did not happen. After speaking a bit more with the crowd and getting everyone to sing the chorus, with many blows, smiles and claps, the concert ended. I can only say: once again, an amazing performance.

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