First, I have to thank Aharon Mikel for making it possible to attend Manuel Göttsching’s concert. I’ve never heard of Dekmantel Festival before, and Facebook-friend Aharon pointed me to the festival and made sure I got in contact with Manuel himself. The festival was sold out, but Manuel had put me on the guest list for the festival that day. I also had an interview with Manuel after his performance, you can listen to it here!
So, there I was, at Muziekgebouw Aan Het IJ, where I have never been before but always hoped I would be there one day because it’s such an amazing building. Once in the lobby I felt very at ease, a lot of people waiting for the acts to perform (Manuel Göttsching was not the only one who would perform that evening) but it was not too crowded. Not much later the audience was allowed to enter the main hall. People could choose to go to the seated area on the balcony or to the standing area on the ground floor. I was standing in the front row right next to one of the speakers so I was glad that I had my earplugs with me.
Manuel Göttsching is a well-known artist. He’s the founding member of the bands Ash Ra Tempel and Ashra, but also is solo work is well known for a lot of people. This evening Manuel was going to perform one of his electronic music solo albums, called E2-E4, in its entirety. The album was recorded in one take in 1981 and released in 1984. It is known as one of the most important influences for the house and techno music of the late 80s and early 90s.
It was a solo performance. Only Manuel himself, equipped with a laptop, a keyboard and a guitar. When he entered the stage he gave a short introduction about what he was going to play. The audience responded with enthusiasm when he entered. He told the audience he never played in Amsterdam before, and that he doesn’t perform E2-E4 very often.
It was very weird to see such a big stage and seeing only one man perform. Manuel was mostly working behind his laptop of course. Where he needed loads of equipment back in the day he can now perform it on his own with just a laptop, keyboard and a guitar. Sometimes he went to the keyboard and during some parts of the performance he grabbed the guitar, finding the right sound and gave away a decent and preserved guitar solo (don’t expect ripping rock guitar solos, because that wouldn’t fit the music at all). His performance lasted somewhat less than an hour, just like the album.
Well, what can I say, it was a very good performance. The music didn’t bore me one second. The sound in was good on the place where I was standing (despite the speaker next to my right ear). I don’t know how it sounded on the balcony. Some people in the audience where modestly dancing, but most people were standing/sitting and just listening. I think most people in the audience really appreciated his performance. When the performance was over Manuel received a good applause and cheers from the audience.
Manuel Göttsching’s official webpage:
You can also read my concert review on Background Magazine:
All photos made by me.