As we've stated previously, we were fortunate to see The Notwist on the small stage at T.T. The Bear's in Cambridge, Mass. when the revered German indie rock act was supporting the U.S. release of its highly influential set Neon Golden five years ago. And while that show was special, that was due mostly to the quality of the material rather than the (almost comically) mild-mannered band's performance, which was faithful to the record but understated. Last night -- at Boston's substantially larger Roxy nightclub -- the show was special not only because of the exceptional music, drawn primarily from Neon Golden and The Notwist's recent quiet triumph The Devil, You + Me, but also because the spectacle of the band's live show has dramatically intensified. Our expectations were blown away, despite fronter Markus Acher's characteristically humble greeting "we are The Notwist, and this is our first song."
Besides some polite bowing and quiet thanks, stage banter was minimal, although Mr. Acher had a laugh at his own expense when he missed a cue beginning one of the new tracks. But last night the band was alternately mesmerizing and astonishing, depending on whether it was locking into a heavy, digitally augmented groove or blasting through a crescendo of guitars. The current touring incarnation of The Notwist includes the core trio of Acher, his brother Micha on bass and Wii-remote-wielding programming genius Martin Gretschmann augmented by a second guitarist and phenomenal drummer whose identities we could not suss out. The quintet opened with the relatively upbeat current single "Boneless" and didn't wait long to flex musical muscle by diving into a powerful, dub-inflected take on "This Room." "Pilot" and the title track to Neon Golden were given an electrifying reading, as were many of the tracks from the recently issued collection. The band obliged fan appreciation with a single encore that included "One With The Freaks" and the title track to The Devil, You And Me. Few fan favorites were left unplayed, although the ballad "Consequence" seemed noticably absent from the set.
Again, the performance last night vastly exceeded our expectations, and we strongly suggest readers scroll down to our earlier item and inspect the remaining tour dates. This is something you do not want to miss. Domino USA released The Devil, You And Me June 17. We're posting the lead promo track "Good Lies" below in the event you are just getting up to speed. We were completely unaware that Anticon loopmeister Michael Dosh would open last night's show, and even when he took the stage with a collaborator we weren't sure who we were seeing until we began to recognize the songs. Dosh's 2008 set Wolves And Wishes is kaleidoscopic and exceptional and well worth tracking down. As usual we took a lot of mediocre pictures of the performances last night, and you can inspect all of them right here.
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