There were points over the weekend that perhaps, just maybe, I was thinking just how completely insane it was to fly a 6800 mile round-trip just to come to an industrial festival. And then there would be another moment that made it crystal clear that it was definitely the right thing to do. So, below and on subsequent page(s) is my take on Festival Kinetik 4.0 – and I saw at least something by every single band playing. I didn’t get photos of every band, but I tried to get at least something for most of them. Click on any of the photos for the full set.
Festival Kinetik 4.0: Phase 01: Thursday
I love seeing new bands live at events like this that I would have never otherwise seen or indeed heard of, arguably. The first band of the festival, Corrupted Suburbs, were one such band. I’d checked out a couple of songs on their Facebook page (the music player on FB now being so much better than Myspace, too – no wonder everyone is or has deserted Myspace now), so I had an idea of what to expect – thumping industrial with guitars. Kinda like the now-departed Flesh Field, perhaps. So it was something of a surprise to discover just how fucking metal they delivered on stage. Onstage they were a metal band that happened to use industrial beats/rhythms, and it was mightily impressive stuff. And something of a brutal blast to get five days of live music going.
The contrast with Iszoloscope couldn’t have been more stark. Somehow – despite Yann’s frequent visits over the years to play shows in the UK – I’ve never actually seen Iszoloscope live, so it was great to finally get the chance to do so. And with them being local, there was a good crowd for their cold and intense noisy industrial rhythms and soundscapes. Their fifty minute set flashed by, not something that I find happens all the time with noise acts, and I’d have been quite happy with even more. Also, there were clowns onstage at points. Particularly creepy ones, and I’m still not sure why. Apparently there should also have been midgets, I’m told, but they turned up late.
iVardensphere were the first band that I was really keen to see – I don’t think I’ll be having the chance to see them live in the UK anytime soon – after my partner in crime for the week put me onto them earlier in the week, playing me a few tracks. Having heard those, and now seen the show, it’s plainly clear that they are the big new industrial noise prospect. They have the thumping beats, brutal rhythms and dancefloor energy, but also intriguingly they also make clever use of tribal beats – including some live hand drum work that adds an entirely different sound and sounds fantastic. It also helps that they have an utter monster of a dancefloor hit in Virus, which closed the show. It should also be noted that the pre-club night on Wednesday went absolutely batshit to the Memmaker remix of it – expect to hear that at Autonomy next month.
I’ve seen Funker Vogt live before, but that was a remarkable nine years ago (at Infest 2002). God, how time flies. The thing is, with Funker Vogt not a lot seems to have changed. Most of the songs played appeared to be pretty much the same ones that were played all those years ago, with a few exceptions, and even the new ones sounded very much like the old ones. So this ended up being fifty minutes of very samey industrial, with most of the songs about war, guns and death. Gunman and Tragic Hero are still ace, it’s just shame that this band never evolved one iota beyond them.
Die Krupps setlist
Hi-Tech Low Life
The Dawning of Doom
Metal Machine Music
To The Hilt
Machineries of Joy
Time has been rather kinder to Die Krupps. I fulfilled a fifteen-year wish to see them live back in early 2008 in Sheffield, and they were fantastic then – and remarkably they were even better here. With only an hour to play, it was something of a “greatest hits” set and was plainly and simply utterly phenomenal.
Bolstered by a brutally heavy and powerful rhythm section (I’ve never heard live drums sound so heavy), this set needless to say concentrated mainly on the post-Metallica, guitar-based stuff. Not that I was complaining – getting pretty much all of the best moments from II – The Final Option was pretty much exactly what I wanted to hear. It’s also quite amazing to think this band are now thirty years into their career – and seemingly still have an incredible energy, more so than bands half their age.
Time has been equally kind to Front Line Assembly. Like Die Krupps, it took me years to get to see them live, but I’ve made up for lost time – this was the fifth time I’d seen them in the past five years, and the third time on the IED tour. Not that this repetition is a bad thing – yeah, so it was basically the same set that I got last summer in London, and in Ottawa earlier in the week, but it’s such a great mix of old and new favourites that I was there once again from start to finish.
Shifting Through The Lens
It was a hell of a contrast to the Ottawa show, too – instead of being in a 150-capacity venue with low ceilings, it was in front a couple of thousand people instead. And this actually resulted in a different dynamic to the show – and it was one of blistering power. The old stuff, obviously, is awesome – in particularly Resist, which with three of them hammering out the intro rhythm is thrilling as hell, while of the new stuff Hostage has become my new favourite as it gets heavier and heavier every time I see it.
Anyway, this was a fantastic show, and even after five times I still get a real thrill from seeing some of my favourite songs live every single time. I seem to recall seeing an interview with Bill Leeb suggesting that “the next album” (that turned out to be IED) might be the last. Here’s hoping this isn’t the case: having released their best album since the mid-90s, FLA are clearly a band still with life in them yet.
Perhaps it was the exhausting power of the previous two bands, but the crowd thinned out rather alarmingly for Everything Goes Cold (although it did pick up a bit as the band got into their set).
Bitch Stole My Time Machine
Don’t Quit Your Day Job
The Droids You’re Looking For
The Iron Fist Of Just Destruction
I’ve Sold Your Organs on the Black Market to Finance the Purchase of a Used Minivan
What Time Is Love? (feat. kAINE D3L4Y)
This was a shame, as EGC’s sly, humorous take on industrial rock is well worth your time. Not for the first time, this was a band who are rather more “rock” onstage than on record, but it translates very well (and doesn’t do any damage to the songs, either). And what we got was basically a beginners guide to EGC- old, new, and borrowed, I guess. Highlights? Bitch Stole My Time Machine sounds ace live – with all the power that the recorded version never really had – and I’m still not sure how Eric manages the tongue-twisting refrain from The Droids You’re Looking For as many times as he does. The future looks bright, too, with a new track (from a forthcoming EP, apparently) debuted that was pretty great, while the set was closed off with the song that started it all (the sneering revenge fantasies of …Minivan), and then the KLF cover that has caused so much fun on dancefloors in the past couple of years. Now to find a way to get these guys to play the UK sometime. Any suggestions welcome.
Onto Phase 02