Nils Frahm at the Imperial

Photo Credit- Riel McGuire
Photo by Riel McGuire

In the world of live music there are shows that fulfill a certain temporary void and choreograph exciting evenings accompanied with the sound of clanking glasses and shouting fanatics. Then there are concerts in which various fans buy tickets far ahead of time, go to a place they usually don’t and watch a 2-3 hour exhibit of why they are fans of this artist. Then there are sonic experiences that alter your senses and rearrange your mind so powerfully that you walk out with a completely different perception of the world-this is the kind of performance Nils Frahm achieved.
In the sprit of Friday night I arrived to the concert with an insatiable appetite for cocktails, dancing and shooting the breeze with fellow Frahm lovers. I walked in with a booming sprit and reckless tone of voice that was immediately tamed by the packed room all stunned and silent by what was in front of them. It was like walking into a womb of the genius world this man has created. Nobody was speaking, taking photos or even really moving-it was as if we had all been tranquilized and were now part of a ceremonial venture in praise of a new religion that comes with a gorgeous soundtrack.
The man is a maddened supernova, he seems possessed by the 18th century yet integrates a contemporary flare to his music that seeps out of his body. It’s as if a melodic apparition rattles through his veins and he needs to execute this force before he explodes. So, the young German man with over ten albums released in the past six years unraveled to his anesthetized audience for three luscious hours. He combines his rare approach to the grand and upright piano with a drum machine, Rhodes, Juno 60 and Moog Taurus. He does this with no looper, no computer and no playback. He is reminiscent of Brian Eno and Phillip Glass but certainly withholds his own dynamic sound such as playing the piano with toilet brushes and excelling at various rare instruments simultaneously right before your eyes. He attacks his piano keys like a wild beast with mallets for fingers and somehow flawlessly ethereal music is generated. The exceptional performance was punctuated by Frahm’s inconceivably humble anecdotes towards the audience. Vancouver’s Imperial was the perfect venue for this event, the sound, the lighting and the size gave the respect a performance like this deserves.As the show concluded, Frahm was drenched in his own mastermind perspiration and the audience with their drool. We had completed our ritual and were now reborn and unleashed into the leftovers of Friday night.

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