Memory of a Festival: 011.2: Festival Kinetik v4.0 – Phase 02

After a day exploring areas out of downtown Montreal (and having the wonder that is poutine from La Banquise), it was back to Metropolis for another evening of industrial music. And the Friday line-up was a pretty heavy duty one, too – including the two British acts on the bill.

Festival Kinetik 4.0: Phase 02: Friday

Festival Kinetik v4.0
Live @ Metropolis and Club Soda, Montreal, Canada
19-23 May 2011

Phase 01
Phase 02
Phase 03
Phase 04
Phase 05

Festival Kinetik 4.0: Phase 02: ESA

The first of those was ESA, who opened up the day and seemingly saw pretty much every North American industrial-noise artist down the front to catch the show. Jamie didn’t disappoint them, either, bulldozing through a powerful set that eschewed the more thoughtful, mellow material from his albums, instead rolling out the heavy weaponry.

ESA Setlist:

Your Blood Is My Blood
Dead Fucking Desire
Nerve Pattern
Absolute Fury (In It’s Very Fabric)
New Track 1
New Track 2
New Track 3
Principles of a Paradisic Resolve
All You Brought To Me Was Fucking Nothing!

And it sounded awesome, too – Jamie is one of the few industrial/noise artists I can think of that can actually make a one-man show compelling to watch, near demanding your attention by the force of the music and the visuals. The new stuff was really impressive, too – looking forward to the new album.

Festival Kinetik 4.0: Phase 02: SKET

Another noise artist with quite a following is S.K.E.T.. This German act have carved out an intriguing niche in being that rare instrumental act who make clear political statements – be that the red flag onstage, or in their albums that all have clear themes (and on their last album, was the most eloquent statement over the use of depleted uranium weapons). I’ve seen them before, of course, and their show was just as good this time. An impressive run through their backcatalogue, with the added bonus of closing with the still-utterly stupendous Free Nations Do Not Export Violence, a track that I still maintain is one of the finest rhythmic noise tracks I’ve ever heard and will ever hear.

Festival Kinetik 4.0: Phase 02: Modulate

I was really intrigued to see how Modulate went down here. I mean, I knew that Skullfuck was as big a club hit in North America as it was in Europe, but I’m not sure any of us were prepared for the reaction that Modulate got. By far the biggest early evening crowd all weekend, the whole crowd – both downstairs and up in the balcony – were going crazy from the off and by the time Skullfuck inevitably finished things off, there had been a moshpit down the front and the rest of the crowd were dancing away like their lives depended on it.

Modulate Setlist:

Electronic Battle Weapon
Dirtygrrrls/Dirtybois (Modulate Remix)
No Good
Hard & Dirty

What was really interesting, though, was the reaction to the new songs. Less industrial and more old-school dance influenced – or in the case of forthcoming single Robots, a cheeky nod to Daft Punk that nearly took the roof off – these bode well for a band clearly looking to move beyond the confines of the industrial scene. With a set of tunes as good as these, I can see no reason why greater success can’t be in their grasp. Easily the performance of the day, and indeed one of the highlights of the weekend.

Festival Kinetik 4.0: Phase 02: God Module

As a result of Modulate, God Module had quite an act to follow. They made a pretty good fist of it, too, and judging on the crowd reaction here they are very much a Big Deal in the industrial scene in North America, something that isn’t quite the case in the UK, at least.

GodMod Setlist:

The Source
False Pretense
A Minute To Midnight
Devil’s Night
Victims Among Friends

Sitting outside the “aggrotech”/”harsh industrial” somewhat, it’s kinda hard to pigeonhole GodMod. I mean, yes, they have the hissed, snarling vocals and the dark, nightmarish subject matter that can occasionally topple over into parody (it was notable that Let’s Go Dark, their last album, was almost totally ignored other than for one song), but they have a couple of tricks up their sleeve. Well, for one, they actually remember to write songs with choruses and memorable bits, unlike some of their “evil” peers, and secondly – and perhaps more importantly – they have Courtney’s sweet vocals that act as a counterpoint to Jasyn’s hiss, and offer some vital variety to their sound.

And with a new album on the horizon at last (four years since the last full release) in the form of Séance, GodMod unveiled some cracking new songs, too. I’ve already heard forthcoming single Rituals, and it’s even better live, but better than that was the creepy menace of Devil’s Night, a crackling dancefloor track that suggests that the last EP was only a stepping stone to greater things.

Festival Kinetik 4.0: Phase 02: The Klinik

I have to say that I thought that The Klinik being one of the headlining Saturday bands was an odd choice, and so it proved. While their clinical, minimal industrial is impressive – and extremely loud – the slightly odd pacing and the unfamiliarity of the songs to much of the crowd meant that this was one show that pretty much passed over the heads of all but a minority. I’m afraid I was one of those that it passed by.

There were no such problems for Agonoize, whose spectacular and very messy stageshow has gained them a whole legion of fans in recent years, and here was no exception. Personally, though, having seen them once before I find them a little trying after a while – while they have some cracking songs, Sacrifice in particular sounded immense, and would still have done without the wrist-slashing blood effects. But other than that, track after track of thundering aggrotech just tries my patience. And for all their seriousness on record, I can’t help but tip my hat at any band who play covers of The Beastie Boys and Kiss in the midst of a set of this much heavy industrial…

Festival Kinetik 4.0: Phase 02: Phosgore

Phosgore were the final band of the night, and their high-octane, bruising industrial dancefloor rhythms were a bit much for me at that point: in a non-rock’n’roll fashion I just wanted to go back to the hotel and crash. So I called it a night after a few songs, mildly impressed by a band who clearly are aiming to please the dancefloor and nothing else – and at least being honest about doing so.

Onto Phase 03

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