Memory of a Festival: 011.5: Festival Kinetik v4.0 – Phase 05

By the time Monday dawned, I was starting to flag fast. To get through thirty-six bands – and to actually try and see all of them – while doing some touristy stuff and finding time for drinking in cheaper bars, too, is an exhausting enterprise, I can tell you.

Festival Kinetik 4.0: Phase 05: Monday

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

So it was with a little trepidation that I approached Phase Five, as to cap it off I was actually DJing in the second room, too.

Festival Kinetik 4.0: Phase 05: Aliceffekt

As a result of all of this, I only saw two complete sets all night, catching bits and pieces of the others. First up were Aliceffekt, a locally-based solo industrial artist who intriguingly was joined onstage by an acoustic guitarist and a cellist. This actually worked a lot better than it first sounded, although I apparently missed the best bits – a cover of Memmaker‘s Death Comes (Sale traître) and a monster of a closing track. Well, I had to miss something good at some point, and this became something of a pattern across the day.

Festival Kinetik 4.0: Phase 05: Continues

One artist I did catch all of was Continues, whom I only found out at the last minute is actually the new project of Dan Gatto from Babyland, a band that had something of a legendary reputation, particularly live, so seeing what he was up to next was definitely worth a punt. It perhaps wasn’t quite expected that his new project is broadly synthpop, but his rather unique sounding vocal delivery sets it apart. Well, that and a quite fearsome intensity to said delivery. I’ll be looking out for the album when it arrives, apparently later in the year.

I had seen Decoded Feedback a good few years back, and in all honesty the last couple of albums haven’t grabbed me particularly, so I only caught a handful of songs from their set. Happily, though, this included an old, old Bio-Vital and an astonishingly brutal Phoenix – by far the best song this electro-industrial band have done. Phoenix is the kind of song that :wumpscut: has been trying and failing to deliver for about the past ten years.

Festival Kinetik 4.0: Phase 05: Aesthetic Perfection

Aesthetic Perfection have been an act that have been steadily growing in stature over the past few years – both on record and live – and this show was no exception. Sadly I had to leave just four songs in to go and do my first DJ set, and I was gutted that I missed the rest. Why? Well, Daniel Graves appears to be on the verge of becoming the next “star”, if you will, in this scene. His last album was rapturously received (including by me, after all it was my album of the year for 2008), and going on what I heard of the new material it’s possible that the new album could be even better than that. Daniel has perfected his electro-industrial sound so that is in equal parts harsh and accessible, and onstage has a glowing confidence and a commanding stage presence. Also of note – live drums work really well for acts like this, adding an extra dimension and a brutal power to the beats. I’m told that the set got even better (some feat) after I ducked out following a smouldering The Great Depression. Due to other commitments I’ll also miss their support slot with Combichrist this summer in London, so the headline tour in November it is, then.

Isn’t the obsession with pounding beats and war imagery over yet? Apparently not, at least if FGFC820 and the big crowd that they drew are to be believed. Mores the pity, as I’m sick and tired of hearing the dull clichés of bands marching into war, their fans being their “army” and camo gear everywhere. Particularly with music as one dimensional as this – if there hadn’t been talking between songs, I’d have been hard pressed to notice that it was more than one (very long) song being played. Please, credit industrial fans with more intelligence than this. Many of us want more than just the same old stuff. The challenge right now appears to be for some bands to be playing anything new or original.

Festival Kinetik 4.0: Phase 05: Suicide Commando

The thing is, though, is that almost every other band on Monday was overshadowed by the appearance of Suicide Commando for their first show in North America ever. I heard comments that the Monday sold out because of this (and perhaps explains why the Monday night was separated out from the rest of the weekend tickets) – and certainly it was for a while a little busier than other nights over the weekend.

Suicide Commando setlist:

Severed Head
Menschenfresser (Eat Me)
Hate Me
Death Cures All Pain
Dein Herz, Mein Gier
God Is In The Rain
Cause of Death: Suicide
Raise Your God
One Nation Under God
Love Breeds Suicide
Fuck You Bitch
Time [Rework]
Die Motherfucker Die
Bind, Torture, Kill

Encore 1:
Better Off Dead
See You In Hell

Encore 2:

Once again, the raucous crowd proved for one last time just how big a following some of the European bands have over here – Johan van Roy was greeted like a hero every time the music stopped for the full one-hundred minute set. And Johan in turn delivered pretty much all the hits in a fantastic career retrospective that even went all the way back to his debut album from 1994 with Time – a track I have to admit I’d completely forgotten about.

This was a punishing set, too – another electro-industrial band to have moved to using live drums, and the results were very impressive, elevating some of the more so-so songs to sounding fantastic, and making some of the older favourites sound extraordinary (an absolutely thumping Raise Your God was a particular highlight). I’m still of the view that Fuck You Bitch is a nasty piece of misogynistic shit, though.

As the encore kicked in, and yet more (very) old favourites were rolled out (it was awesome to hear Better Off Dead for the first time in a good many years), the crowd seemed to gain a second wind and go even crazier – just in time for a blistering run through a now-ten-year-old Hellraiser to finish off the show. Johan van Roy and Suicide Commando were one of the originators of the “harsh industrial” sound, and frankly no other band does it better – still. Other bands sound like mere pretenders compared to this.

I have to say that I felt rather sorry for Alex P. of Painbastard to have to be following that – it would perhaps have been fairer for Suicide Commando to be closing the show. But on a selfish note, this worked out for me, as I got to see the whole of the SC set as a result – my second DJ set clashed with most of Painbastard. From what I saw, Alex P. put in a good show, to a somewhat diminished crowd, and his act is definitely getting better – although I’m still not convinced that he has enough truly great songs yet.

As a final note – this was an awesome weekend, that was well worth the hefty journey across the Atlantic for. A friendly, less cliquey scene than that in the UK, for sure, which resulted in us making a whole load of new friends over the weekend, and a broadly well organised festival that had just the right number of bands and DJs to keep the interest up over the weekend. There were perhaps a couple of avoidable things, though – the massive delays on Thursday night for wristband exchange – which meant that far too many people missed the first couple of bands, was entirely avoidable and could have been solved in an instant by allowing collection of wristbands before doors open (as Infest do every year). And I, like other DJs, wasn’t enormously happy about the second room – poorly signed, and a mismatch between the couple of stalls and the bar/dancefloor area meant for a not as well attended room as it should have been. But then, with all DJs clashing with bands at some point, it meant we all perhaps lost out. My setlist.

Those minor criticisms aside, I’ll definitely be back next year for another week of fun like this. See you all then.

All photos from the weekend>>

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