Trust puts on immersive performance

Driving beats, dark vocals, and disorienting fog filled Bloomfield music venue brillobox last Tuesday for a concert by synthpop duo Trust.

A Toronto-based duo comprised of singer Robert Alfons and drummer Maya Postepski (of pop group Austra), Trust performed on Tuesday with a third performing member on the keyboard. The group formed in 2009 and released its debut LP TRST in February 2012, receiving generally positive reviews.

Trust relies on goth and post-punk influences to create a heavier sound than the genre tag “synthpop” might suggest. With deep, nasally vocals and relentless beats, Trust’s music carries a superficial aura of darkness — reminiscent of ’90s synth groups and current bands like Crystal Castles — and creates a faint feeling of nostalgia in the listener, though for what is unclear.

Brooklyn-based rock band Eraas and Pittsburgh-based synthpop group Ennui opened for Trust, though most of the audience didn’t show up until just before Trust’s set. The crowd — made up entirely of hip twentysomethings — was enthusiastic; there were lots of applause and verbal affirmations of enjoyment, despite a surprising lack of dancing. The shift from light head-bobbing to more involved movement happened only during Trust’s most popular songs, like “Bulbform,” “Heaven,” “F.T.F.,” and “Sulk.”

The show at brillobox on Tuesday was both a visually and aurally immersive experience. A fog machine was blowing throughout the show, and the drummer and keyboardist were in sync with a strobe light, making it easy to get lost in the show. Colored lights lit the stage from behind, creating a disorienting silhouetted effect; the black outline of lead singer Alfons hopped around the front of the stage throughout the set, but that was really all you could see from the dance floor.

Trust opened the show with crowd-favorite “Shoom” — a sprawling song that combines every great element of the group into five-and-a-half minutes you wish would never end — and played nearly every other song from their debut album, coming back on stage for a single-song encore after their set. The music translated well into a live set, but the show lacked some of the energy and depth of the album. The balance seemed off during part of the show, with low vocals and overpowering beats. Alfons’ deep, brooding voice — a defining characteristic off the band’s songs — sounded fine live, though less clean than on the album, which perhaps contributed to the show’s lack of energy.

With just one album and a few singles out to date, the show could have been a dud, with nothing new brought to the table. But the immersive visuals and the quality of the live instrumentation and vocals made the show a success. In all, it was a night of great performances, and Trust certainly lived up to the hype they’ve been riding on for over a year.