Like The Streets and Idlewild before them, the German trio Notwist came into town riding a wave of publicity, thanks in no small part to KEXP's John Richards kudos on the band's latest album Neon Golden via his mailing list and morning show. It is a difficult task for any band to live up to such hype. Perhaps residing on the other side of the Atlantic helped in this case. They seemed unaware of all the attention they've been receiving locally as they, somewhat ironically, didn't play "Consequence", the highest rotated song and the one that surely made many in attendance fans to begin with. What they did play certainly made up for that particular song's absence.
Vocalist and guitarist Markus Archer was flanked by knob twiddler Arne Van Petegem, from opener Styrofoam, brother Micha on bass and Martin Messershmid on drums. Martin Gretschman, a key component on the album, didn't seem to be in attendance. A fine collection of musicians as was required for this performance driven show. There certainly wasn't much in the way of theatrics nor an abundance of energy coming from the quartet. Many of the tracks off the latest album were reworked to feature more 'rawk'. The most notable were rousing renditions of "Pilot" and "Solitaire". The half-processed, half-traditional percussion led the way as the static and glitch of the electronics balanced finely with the extended jams of the guitars.
Not everything that was played adhered to this format. "Neon Golden" and "Trashing Days" remained more true to their album versions. Quiet was emphasized allowing for the lovely melodies and Markus's delicate voice to shine through. The infectious laments to love and loss "Pick up the Phone" and "One with the Freaks" were also included.
The show appeared to be sold out, a testament to the group's rising popularity. The possibly overcrowded venue wasn't enough to detract from the excellent performance Notwist graced us with. Apparently there is more to Germany's music scene than just David Hasselhoff.