In this neck of the woods, in the over renovated and tourist infested Kulturbraueri, NBI provides a much welcome touch of old-school Berlin decadence with its faded red velvet glamour and epileptic disco ball in contrast to its programming, which focuses on contemporary experimental electronic pop in all its many and varied guises.
The opening set from the distinctly un-electro Liquid Polaroid wasn’t much to write home about. Aside from one of possibly the worst band names ever, they never strayed far from imitating the more melodic and radio friendly end of Sonic Youth’s oeuvre. Apparently glad to be back in Berlin the feeling wasn’t entirely reciprocated by an underwhelmed audience which largely confined itself to sporadic clapping and a polite tapping of feet.
After some delay, while the venue slowly began to fill, SoSo Modern announced their presence with a member of the anonymous “four piece musical collective from New Zealand” making a quick circuit of the bar armed with a tambourine. Summoned behind the curtain to the stage we found three Modernists stationed at a row of synths while the fourth spelt out a lopsided rhythm behind the drumkit.
Crouching over the keyboards in intricately stitched white stage costumes, the black dots on either side of their hoods giving them a somewhat Locusty appearance, they unleashed a zooming, squelching, distinctly retro fanfare, the aptly titled Synthgasm.
Guitars, vocoders and keytars were variously deployed for Fire Fights and Change your chassis the sound veering with reckless abandon between hyperfast math rock and ass-shaking electro funk. A surprisingly delicious sonic smoothie, concocted from offcuts of Frank Zappa, Chic and Devo with dollops of Daft Punk and Polysics thrown in for good measure. Like fellow antipodeans the Presets, SoSo Modern revisit the late eighties with their back to the future sound.
The “nu-rave” tag might be already proving a somewhat wearisome bandwagon but the sheer excitement, enthusiasm and inventiveness of SoSo Modern’s performance suggests there are a few tricks left up its elasticated fluoro sleeve yet.
Rearranging a row of small plastic dinosaurs on the keyboard, an encore was provided in the form of Turn this landscape upside down as the guitarist, balancing precariously on the bass drum leapt into the air. The self released Friendly Fires EP, which collates their 7inch vinyl releases to date, is out now.