It’s a brisk Autumnal evening when we venture to one of London’s most iconic music venues. The Royal Albert Hall has played host to some groundbreaking musical acts; from The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra to Pavarotti, The Rolling Stones to The Beatles. But as the sun sets behind this Grade II listed building very different clientele is slowly forming outside. Pockets of people who wouldn’t look out of place at a warehouse rave are gathering outside the venue, casually chatting over rolled up cigarettes.
In a bid to make the venue more accessible to a new generation, RAH have teamed up with LWE (London Warehouse Events) and invited respected Berlin imprint Innervisions to curate an evening showcasing their artists and music.
Making our way inside, Marcus Worgull is on warm up duty, playing to a sparse yet excited crowd. An ambient pink and purple light bathes the building and the acoustic diffusers overhead that hang from the ceiling. Across from him on the main stage sits a giant lightbox in the shape of a cube with the Innervisions logo emblazoned on each side. The unmistakable vocals of Fever Ray come into focus with her track ‘Now’s The Only Time I Know’ and as Worgull’s set builds gradually, the floor in front of him does too. It culminates in a hugely dramatic crescendo and then darkness. A fittingly atmospheric start to the evening, but also classic Innervisions fare.
The sudden darkness grabs the attention of the crowd as projections appear on the cube before Croatian visual artist and dancer Nina Kurtela appears on the stage. Her moves are in perfect synchronicity with that of the performers on the screen. Her silhouette on the cube gives the illusion of a third dancer. Nina’s performance is part of a year-long choreography made with her long-distance friend and fellow dancer Hana Erdman. Short clips made over those 365 days flash up on the cube, filmed in Taipei, Berlin, Amsterdam, Stockholm and London amongst others. Even though not filmed with music in mind, the sequences fit perfectly with the soundtrack selected by Dixon and drawn from the booming Innervisions discography.
The mood shifts slightly as Henrik Schwarz and Bugge Wesseltoft enter. Two grand pianos sit alongside analogue equipment and the lighting changes to a fiery hue of orange and red.
The almost hellish sound of synths screech around the auditorium as they begin their performance. What stands out about this set is the union between electronic and classical as well as the added depth of live percussive elements, something that Schwarz has been a pioneer of for years.
Wesseltoft woos his captivated audience with sparkling arpeggios and a piano solo reminiscent of Baroque music and it goes without saying that the pair succeed in creating a cinematic ambience, an ambience that's heightened because of the esteemed venue.
Âme, appearing as one in the form of Frank Wiedemann, is joined by Matthew Herbert for a live rendition of their recent release, ‘The Line’. Wiedemann then adds more of a rave element to proceedings as the low-slung bass rumbles through the historic building. Layers build and build to reveal a more progressive sound before eventually giving way to Âme’s instantly recognisable hit ‘Rej’. Its pulsating barbs of sound shimmer through the crowd and beckon those seated to stand and move to its alluring rhythm.
As well as forming one half of Âme, Frank Wiedemann is also known for his role in Howling, alongside singer Ry X. They bring a more uplifting, almost poppy element to the event, with Ry’s crooning and soulful vocals acting as the ideal antidote to the heady techno soundscape.
By now the crowd has been primed with goods from the bar and are eager to get stuck in to a full blown rave. Attention turns to face the way we began the night where Dixon and the other half of Âme, Kristian Beyer, are more than happy to meet their needs. By now everyone is up on their feet and the pair take it in turns initially rather than going full on b2b with Dixon effortlessly dropping Lindstrøm’s 2010 offering ‘There’s A Drink In My Bedroom And I Need A Hot Lady’ leaving everyone aching for more.
Innervisions and LWE managed to strike the perfect balance between old and new, electronic and classical in this prestigious venue and created an event that will be remembered. More than anything though, it's set a mighty-strong precedent for the future of the Royal Albert Hall.