So, yeah, I can't believe that I am about to use the phrase in relation to Apparatjik, but: From what I've seen and heard so far, Roskilde was a game changer for Apparatjik.
Sure, I could easily defend this position with the simple and oh-so-obvious observation that removing the cube expanded the guys' available modes of expression. But 99.9% of musicians perform without a cube, and I'd guess that every one of them struggles at one time or another to create a unique experience for their audience. So in the end everyone has the same potential for impactful expression, there is nothing whatsoever unique about performing without a cube, therefore its absence alone can't account for the fairly mind-blowing amount of visual and audio stimulation going on during that set.
I wrote last April:
One of the things I was worried about with these gigs was the lack of interaction with the band. The cube is an obvious physical and visual barrier, but I enjoy the music so much that I knew somehow that it would be a great experience even so. And I was right. The guys have used the word 'freedom' in connection with Apparatjik a bunch of times, and from their movements and (eh...) accessories behind the cube walls, you could tell they were not reserved. Did the barrier make that possible, or would they perform this way without it? And while some people may have thought that performing in a closed space shuts the band off from the audience and makes it a mutually isolated experience, I had the opposite reaction: I felt like they were projecting outwards via the lights and visuals, which made me feel like an essential part of the performance. Something has to be out there to receive what they're sending, so to speak.
The band performed without reference to the reaction, and the audience was able to react in any way we wanted without worrying about influencing or 'reaching' the performers. So in a way, the barrier creates a situation in which everyone is more free, not just the band.
Having had that experience, I thought that the loss of the cube at Roskilde might introduce some reservation to the performance, which would have been a major disappointment. Freedom is an essential concept for Apparatjik, that much was already clear; however freedom within a cube is not at all the same thing as freedom on a massive stage in front of thousands of people. So going into the festival, I was most interested to see how they would use this different freedom and push it as far as it would go. I also hoped to witness, without barriers, the 'joyful' quality I wrote about after the CTM gig in 2010.
At the time of writing, there are only two videos uploaded to youtube from Apparatjik's concert at Roskilde: Deadbeat | | Snow Crystals/Do It Myself
How could anyone watch that second clip without being infected with their energy and freedom and joy? :-) There is so much more I want to see from the show, reportedly they performed 'That's the thing about us' and 'Tell the babes' and 'Blastlocket', all of which are still on heavy rotation for me. And I am also really curious about the DJ set and the catwalk element of the concert, not to mention vocals by Lowell.
Long story short, it does look like they pushed everything to the limit, which to some reviewers was good and to others was too much/confusing/hard to digest. Between the massive, multi-layered visuals and the audio bombardment they delivered, it's impossible not to wonder what they could possibly do next. The game seems to change all the time. And that, dear reader, is one of the many lures of this project ;-)