Live Review: Immersion: Part One - Starset w/ Diskord | 02 Institute 2, Birmingham | 24/03/18

If you know Birmingham, you’ll know that The Institute 2 has hosted many upcoming artists over the years, Starset now being one of them. Emerging on their first UK headliner ‘Immersion: Part One’, the current run has proven to be extremely successful. Selling out 3/4 UK venues, the band are building up a good following overseas.

EDM openers Diskord (4) did very little to warm the audience up. The basic beat drops and mixes didn’t bring anything new or exciting and ultimately didn’t fit very well amongst the music genre most fans were a part of. Aside from the consistent repetition of ‘Who’s ready for Starset’ averaging 7/8 times during the full set and failing to create any real communication, Diskord at least gave it a go, despite the unimpressed walk-off at the end of the set. Maybe not the best show he has played to date.

To people who haven’t heard Starset (8.5), their somewhat enigmatic conceptual style may confuse at first glance. To briefly

explain, Starset incorporate their entire style, live ‘demonstrations’/shows, music and more to the story of what they call ‘The Starset Society’, a collective spreading knowledge of ‘man’s imminent demise’ to a larger audience. From a live aspect, everything is well structured, and definitely boosted the performance.

In the end, almost everything about the set design was very well thought-out. Sticking to the cinematic sci-fi concept, the bellowing use of air cannons, illuminated spacesuits and very modernised backing instruments of the cello and violin brought a stylisation often not valued enough by bands. As for their set, the majority, understandably, consisted of their second album Vessels, but also slotted in much appreciated tracks from their debut Transmissions.

From the instant opener of ‘The Order/ Satellite’, the audience were fully into the electronic/rock crossover. While in some cases, it takes a few songs for crowds to truly warm up to a band, the instantaneous excitement was definitely there. Taken from the bands discography, heavier, more electronic tracks ‘Last to Fall’ and ‘Ricochet’ embraced an eccentric live vibe, backed up by well executed live instrumentals on top. Almost every track produced has some form of dramatic, scientifically themed outro which acted as the main communication through the set. The interaction between the band and the audience was minimal (excluding the Peaky Blinders reference about Birmingham), but with the sense of the show and its theme, this probably was better than nonsensical rambling.

‘Down with The Fallen’ saw the full venue joining in with the filler vocal aspects, giving an extra point to audience involvement. Yet, the real crowd pleasers of this set were the fan-favourite singles ‘My Demons’, ‘Monster’ and ‘Carnivore’. Both the band’s exuberance energy and the audiences radiating enjoyment intermixed to form extra highlights to the overall show. The clever recreation of ‘transmissions-esque’ effects fused with normal mic vocals also helped to accentuate not only the recorded track style, but also the more subtle conceptual themes.

One of the more noticeable issues with the performance was during their slower, debut album track ‘Telescope’. The melodically infused track in recording, brings a slow build up, but during this performance, sounded a little off. The vocals were a little messy, which did throw the track off, but other than this slight blip in the set, everything else fell well into their performance.

Starset have certainly learned how to produce intense stage visuals throughout their live demonstration sets. With a stand-out concept, good music and a great live set, they just need to increase their already building foundations. Starset are worth seeing, but be quick to get tickets, as they will sell-out fast.