Le Poisson Rouge is one of the best venues for catching eclectic live entertainment in New York City. The programming is always solid and perfect for seeing an obscure act on a whim. I’ve never seen a bad show there, and Monday night’s Trentemøller show is no exception. The sold out show for the Danish electronic producer incorporates a live band, a strategy frontman Anders Trentemøller has used for his last several albums. His latest LP, Fixion, has honed the explorations on 2013’s Lost even more precisely, which translates to a powerful and enjoyable live experience.
The intimate basement at LPR perfectly cradles the new wave sound of Fixion, creating a sublime haze that swells as the set progresses. There is also nothing that can replace a real drum kit, which fills out the space with organic percussion that would lack energy if it were replaced with an electronic drum machine.
The strength of Trentemøller’s sound is its fluctuation between both rock and electronic styles, as well as allowing select songs to remain instrumental. Fixion contains as many instrumentals as vocal tracks (and less vocalists compared to Lost), engaging with the variety of reasons we listen to music in the first place.
The tracks blossom when performed live. The set begins with the lumbering, restrained “One Eye Open,” calling to mind the late-night smokiness of Chromatics. “Never Fade” is propelled by a driving New Order bass and atmospheric synths, with Anders Trentemøller himself providing processed vocal snippets. Through “My Conviction” and Lost‘s “Gravity,” propelled by Marie Fisker’s vocals, the set remains bleak yet epic, a difficult balance to pull off. There are several surprises from Trentemøller’s earliest work The Last Resort, including reworked versions of “Vamp” and “Moan,” the latter containing vocals contributed by Fisker.
The back half of the show is reserved for more uptempo electronic numbers with an A Place to Bury Strangers influence. By the time “Circuits,” “River in Me,” and “Still on Fire” land, the crowd has launched into proper dancing spirit. The electronic instrumentals are the band’s opportunity to tease out longer arrangements, extending the natural groove on their way to a musical apex. Any emphasis on singer hero worship is also diminished, allowing the audience to focus on the unassuming mastermind behind the keys.
Grab tickets for the rest of Trentemøller’s U.S. tour or listen to Fixion in its entirety on Spotify now: