In their recordings, the Notwist might give off the impression of being a sleepy little electro-pop band, but don’t let that twist your notions of what their live show is like. Sure, they hide behind the gentle guise of glasses (four out of the five touring members wear them), but in a live setting, their post-rock and hardcore roots really start to seep out.
The pattern for the night, if you can call it that, was usually a slow build, getting into a groove, then destroying it completely. The band was much heavier, particularly with bass, than on record. But even when the simmering aggression wasn’t coming through in song, it occasionally came through in action. During the intro to “Where in this World,” frontman Markus Acher yanked his guitar strings as though determined to break them.
The Notwist: “Where In This World” (download)
Still, there’s a reason why the audience sported more intelligent eyewear and phones than the average concert attendees. Band member Martin Gretschmann directed much of the band’s electronic components with a pair of Wiimotes, the controllers for the Nintendo Wii, and Markus Acher flipped through a stack of vinyl for sampling purposes. Gretschmann held up interesting toy after interesting toy for our admiration, and the band members looked amusedly awkward when noticing the flurry of cameras snapping pictures, each nuance part geekish yet part spectacle.
The setlist was evenly distributed between older hits and newer, but most of the material from The Devil, You + Me hasn’t quite reached the sing-a-long status of favorites from Neon Golden. “Pick Up the Phone” and “One With The Freaks” were tender favorites, requested via shouts from the audience, who also yelled thanks to the band when they started to play them, and then sang along (not too loudly, of course) or clapped choruses out of mild-mannered adoration.
The Notwist closed the night with two encores, returning to the stage among the modern geek equivalent of the peace sign or the rock symbol: the hovering iPhone.
For more pictures from T-Sides, go here. To see the setlist, a T-Sides video of “Neon Golden” from this show and more, click the jump.
Pick Up The Phone
Where In This World
The Devil, You + Me
ENCORE 1: One With The Freaks
ENCORE 2: Consequence
Gone, Gone, Gone
The Notwist performing “Neon Golden” at Webster Hall, Oct. 13, 2008