As the Norwegian DJ lights up the Bombed Out Church with his brand of Scandinavian nu-disco, Getintothis’ James Zaremba sees the symbolic venue come to life.
With the sun setting over the Bombed Out Church Todd Terje, King of Scandinavian nu-disco, provided a wholly appropriate end to the Freeze residency of this culturally symbolic structure. Few venues could seem so appropriate for such a show as was provided by Terje, who radiantly reconstructed his It’s Album Time hits for a crowd rhapsodic with enthusiasm for the Norwegian producer.
Having announced a host of live shows across the UK Todd Terje has already graced the stage at Manchester’s Parklife Festival among notable others. What separated this Freeze event from other stops of Terje‘s tour was the notable support from associated acts; Greg Wilson, Gerd Janson and Prins Thomas supported as always by an eclectic mix of handpicked gems from Freeze resident and owner of 3B records Jemmy.
Following the resident’s warm welcome to the early punters British and more fittingly Merseyside DJ legend Greg Wilson came to the stage just as the sun was beginning to burst through the thick cloud that had hung over the early morning. As a name recognised more by those fortunate enough to experience the 80s and 90s dance music scene the reason for the Freeze‘s broad demographic appeal was becoming apparent.
Reaching back into these years Wilson played out a vibrant mix of disco and funk classics coupled with a handful of Todd Terje‘s own classic disco edits from the last decade. Wilson‘s masterful use of a vintage Revox B77 reel to reel tape deck provided a refined sense of musical enrichment as he flirted with samples of Terje‘s own productions to draw the crowd into what was to come.
Billed to follow Wilson‘s headline-worthy set was Norwegian producer and label owner Prins Thomas. To the crowd’s delight and the artistic benefit of all concerned Thomas invited Gerd Janson, set to play the following slot, onto the stage for a three hour back to back set of impeccably well thought out track selections.
Having played alongside one another for famed DJ streaming service Boiler Room, Thomas‘ more playful and cosmic disco sounds were balanced out by Janson‘s more industrial track selection. Leading their set with an illuminating flute driven house section the pair then delved into a deeper and richer record selection before, to the crowd’s gratification, lifting the depth with a club edit of The La’s There She Goes.
These two very complimentary styles and selections defined the atmosphere for the evening and as the sunlight slowly waned behind the high-bricked walls of the Church a man with an impeccable moustache took to the stage.
Appearing ten minutes before his set time was due to start Todd Terje immediately gripped the audience with both hands in a tight embrace that would only yield an hour later. Whilst notable commissions were present in his set (Strandbar, Leisure Suit Preben) Terje‘s stage presence coupled with an unforgettable lighting display provided an warm sense of closure for this series of Freeze events.
His ability to create a concert-esque atmosphere from his live DJ set and dizzying display on the synth keyboard provided a pleasant rarity for electronic music as the crowd happily sang along to his headline track Inspector Norse, (a song which doesn’t even contain any lyrics). Terje‘s infectious melodies and deep rooted grooves kept the crowd happily moving over the next hour as he left to an eruption of applause. Standing like statues for the next ten minutes the crowd clearly wanted more, however it was not to be as Terje returned to take a final bow. They do say; always leave the audience wanting more.
Terje effortlessly encapsulated every reason why such events should be allowed to continue at this historical venue. The inspiring atmosphere of community, evident in the sweaty hugs and handshakes of punters, gave the whole evening a memorable flavour that is present at all Freeze events. We can only wait and hope that such a show will come around to this symbolic venue again.
Photos by Getintothis’ Chris Flack