Live Review plus Gallery: Dark Mofo Festival, Trentemøller, MAC 02 Centre, Hobart, 18.06.2023

Feature Photograph: Arun Kendall

Last night, Anders Trentemøller and his full band played the last night of the musical part of the Dark Mofo Festival in the vast cold cavern that is the MAC 02 hall. A performance so immersive and cathartic it made the venue feel like an intimate cavern, and heated up the interior like a solar flare. Organisers had originally allocated the majestic Odeon Theatre for this exclusive Hobart-only performance of Trentemøller, but due to overwhelming demand upgraded the venue size. Possibly a good move for health and safety reasons alone: I’m not sure the grand old lady would have survived the sonic onslaught.

Trentemøller has two faces – a later dream pop/shoegaze era with vocals and an earlier downtempo and trip hop, minimal, glitch, and darkwave era. The gig presented both sides of the equation with equal force and scattered throughout. There was undoubtedly a greatest hits element to the setlist – a welcome delivery for an appreciative audience starved of the full band lineup in Australia.

The ethereal pop presence of ‘No More Kissing In The Rain’, for example, was majestic dream pop at its most haunting and mesmerising. ‘In The Gloaming’ had all the hallmarks of dream pop with its distant vocals floating in the cold air. ‘Cops On On Our Tail’ (The Raveonettes collaboration) with its shoegaze robotic cold distant delivery and thundering synth bass shook the spine and spun the head.

And when Trentemøller did electronica or EDM instrumentals, the shackles were shrugged off: the power and voltage of the tracks electrified the air and the crowd became a seething mass bobbing in unison. The journey ebbed and flowed but the underlying dynamic of the band was utterly magnificent: a heady fusion of synths, bass, guitars, drums and vocals created sonic earthquakes: cathartic and eviscerating.

More sombre gothic shades were also presented – the majestic ‘Darklands’ sparkled with a reflective flow, haunting and atmospheric.

The finale – ‘Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go!!!’ was a throbbing, wailing onslaught with its heavy metal guitars whirling like helicopters and slamming percussions and shifting pace. Trentemøller had the entire hall clapping along with the intricate clattering beat.

Individually, the band were brilliant and seemed to enjoy the delivery. Trentemøller roused the audience – sometimes behind his bank of synths, sometimes venturing out onto the front of the stage – a consummate and enigmatic showman. His stage presence was understated yet magnetic and he commanded the stage with an effortless coolness, allowing the music to take center stage while still engaging with the audience. There was a sense of genuine connection and mutual appreciation between the artist and the crowd, creating a symbiotic energy that heightened the overall experience.

Overall, the evening was a thoroughly enjoyable sonic punch: syncopated, arpeggiated, intricate and yet powerful. Indie kids and ravers all left enchanted and slightly discombobulated by the sheer force.

This was an explosive end to the final weekend of the festival, and testimony to the departing Leigh Carmichael and his team for the magnificent service to music and the community over the last ten years..

Set List

Veil of White
No More Kissing in the Rain
In the Gloaming
The Rise
When the Sun Explodes
Dead or Alive
Like a Daydream
One Last Kiss to Remember
Cops on our Tail
(The Raveonettes cover)
Take Me Into Your Skin
Miss You
Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider Go!!!

Photographs: Arun Kendall

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