Event Review: Todd Terje in Glasgow
The man from Norway played a live solo set in the city's revereed Sub Club.
Glasgow’s 400-capacity Sub Club is its most revered and venerable clubbing space, having opened in 1987 and only ever moved premises to allow for reconstruction after a fire at the end of the 1990s. Todd Terje last played there in summer 2012 at Harri and Domenic’s Subculture night, which also hosted this September 12 show. The Sub Club was a small venue for Terje back then, and is even more so now that It’s Album Time has been a huge success and “Inspector Norse” has reached such levels of public recognition—hearing it belted out by worse-for-wear revellers in a city-center taxi queue wouldn’t be a huge shock.
Terje’s last engagement in the city was at last year’s Optimo (Espacio) Revue at the much larger Barrowland venue, but the respective atmospheres of the two nights were pretty much the same: crammed, sweaty, and very excitable. Terje’s live setup on the Sub’s small DJ booth-adjacent stage was pared back from the full-band show with Delorean-heavy visuals that’s become a familiar sight at festivals in the last year or so. This was a solo performance, with his large red and black Nord Stage 2 keyboard the centerpiece, and only a couple of other pieces of equipment around it. Despite this—and the gapless, DJ set-like way Terje plays these sets—the whole thing had a gig-like feel not often seen in the Sub Club, with a crush at the front and total focus on the artist.
Crowd reactions to more than just Terje’s best-known track spoke to the level of success he’s attained of late, with “Deloran Dynamite” and “Strandbar” greeted with particular fervor. For me, though, the show’s most pleasurable moments came when the pace dropped a little, when Terje’s talent for draping shimmering atmospheres behind his intoxicating piano lines came further to the fore. He and Bryan Ferry’s cover of Robert Palmer’s “Johnny and Mary,” was the most obvious of these moments, but “Swing Star Pt.1” gave a faster-paced iteration of the same luxuriant, soft-focus feel.
The inevitable finale of “Inspector Norse” was greeted with an equally inevitable pogo-crush frenzy, and, as with last year’s Barrowland finale, it was an intoxicating sight, whatever your appetite for actually being right in the middle of it. A mini-exodus for the front door immediately followed, many just for a cigarette or some much-needed fresh air, but some, no doubt, to go and belt out the track they’d just heard in a taxi queue. Such is life when your star rises as high as Todd Terje’s has.