Billed as Tricky presents Skilled Mechanics I was fairly curious to see how the evening would fare, as I had read a statement by Tricky that it was indeed fairly different from past tours, and I can say it was not only different, but a great show!
The Kulturfabrik, was not packed but the turnout was larger than I had expected. The band took stage around 8:50 pm and launched into a pretty much instrumental version of You don’t wanna, which set the mood for the rest of the evening, from somewhat slow through pounding beats and sounds. Contrary to most Tricky gigs I have seen in the past, this one was fairly stripped down, only 3 people on stage, drums / with sampler (Luke Harris), guitar (Paul Noels), and Tricky on vocals, no female guest singers. So essentially even though the night was billed as Tricky presents Skilled Mechanics, the show itself turned out to be more of Tricky than in the past, where he kept a bit more to the background ceaselessly smoking. This time around he only lit up towards the end of the show, and was all over the stage and very much front and center most of the time. Some of the songs, where presented in a nice and long version whereas some felt fairly short. The weirdest one being Overcome, which without female vocals sounded great, but for some reason right in the song Tricky got Luke to stop playing, and he said, “I was in Amsterdam yesterday and this is much better”, which was surprising but very much appreciated by the crowd. They then went on to play a bit more of Overcome, but it sort of felt a little bit off. Not sure what it was about, but to me it looked like Luke was about to trigger some vocal samples when Tricky called for a stop, then again he might just have wanted to share he liked the gig better than the one in Amsterdam. The band looked like they had fun on stage, and well Tricky seemed eager to smoke some more, and I did that as well just before the first encore.
The setlist (full list below, although I am not sure they played it as noted.. and there may have been a cover or 2 as well) was mostly made up of Skilled Mechanics tracks, some from False Idols, and Adrian Thaws. Overall I’d say it was a great show, but with the first encore clocked in around 70 minutes, which is a bit short. Granted Skilled Mechanics is a new project with only one album under their belt, but since it was billed as Tricky presents Skilled Mechanics, in my humble opinion they could have made more use of the back catalogue, and maybe played a few more new versions of older songs, or maybe even some of the lesser known but still gnarly ones. They made up for a bit of the shortness by coming back out for second encore, after the house lights had turned on already, which was highly appreciated. As always in the past Tricky is well worth seeing live no matter with what project!