Arriving to the Trocadero in downtown Philadelphia, I had to appreciate the size of the place; VNV Nation always puts on a strong show, but they are especially engaging in smaller venues like the Troc where they can interact with the audience a little more easily. The 19th century vintage opera-house-turned-concert-hall was no exception, and the balcony was even wrapped with Christmas lights, which frontman Ronan Harris joked were for the ravers in the crowd.
The setlist started with some of the band's older tracks, but was quickly sprinkled with songs off their most recent album, Automation, which was released earlier this year in October. 'Control,' and 'Space & Time' are probably the most danceable new tracks, which went well with the large electronic lighting panels that were the backdrop for the show and pulsed in time to the music. 'Nova (Shine a Light on Me)' was more emotional, and in line with their earlier songs 'Beloved' and 'Illusion,' both of which they performed as well.
As is their tradition, VNV came back for an encore after leaving the stage the first time and started back up with 'Legion,' a welcome throwback from the band's 1999 album Empires. That was followed by 'Joy,' and 'Standing,' and ended with 'Perpetual,' while the audience chanted the last line of the song.
One of the highlights of the night was the after-party with the band in the venue's upstairs bar, which featured the hard-driving sets of Philadelphia regular DJ Mighty Mike Saga, which had many people dancing despite the tiny size of the dance floor, and the space in general.