Memory of a Festival: 002: Infest 2005

OK, so where do we start? Well, overall, this year’s Infest has been fantastic fun. As always, it is so much more than the bands – the friendly atmosphere and time to catch up with friends ensure that. But the bands are generally well worth seeing. Didn’t catch all of them this year, and not every one was to my taste – but that is to be expected.

Infest 2005
Live @ University of Bradford
26-28 August 2005


So of course, I missed the opening band (Univaque) as we weren’t exactly in a hurry to get there. Judging on reports from others, I don’t think I missed much.

Quite the opposite for the rest of the evening – Pow[d]er Pussy were great, bouncy fun, providing an ultra-bouncy tech-set that got everyone moving early on. Opening with the From Dusk ’til Dawn sample-fest of Cryogenicpussylover (you really don’t need to ask what sample they are using…) hardly hurt, either…

Headline act for the evening were Fixmer/McCarthy, who were probably the highlight of the entire weekend. A good mix of new F/M stuff, and of course old Nitzer Ebb tracks, the latter of which had been beefed up somewhat – but still dovetailed perfectly well, particularly the crunching versions of Join In The Chant and Control I’m Here. Even more amazing is that according to their website Douglas had torn his ankle ligaments at the start of August – not that you would have known from the way he was bouncing across the stage. His outfit was interesting, too – looking more like some gay-icon cop (complete with aviator shades…).

Oddly, this year the Saturday seemed to have the majority of the bands that I wanted to see. So…we got there early-ish so that I could see Tin Omen. And here was the first surprise of the weekend. To be honest, the sample mp3’s I had heard in the run-up to the weekend had left me somewhat nonplussed, but live they were totally different. A powerful female singer, beats and two guitarists – and tunes, too. All in all good industrial metal, nothing particularly original but worth a listen.

The second surprise quickly followed in The Azoic, who were another band that on record really didn’t catch me much. Live, again the beats are beefed up, and Kristy has an interesting voice that adds odd textures to the tracks. The fact that they were evidently enjoying themselves immensely helped win over the crowd quickly, too.

Things got wierd with H.I.V.+. A mix of performance art, and vaguely rhythmic noise, they were somehow compelling for the entire 45-minute set, despite an intro that appeared to last for about 30 minutes of it. Back to something a little more normal for Decoded Feedback, who despite starting brightly (Bio-Vital sounded great, while Phoenix was utterly thunderous, and by far the highlight of the set), got somewhat samey after a while – so about half an hour in we decided it was time for another drink.

Following that was Punch Inc., who probably provided the most punishing, relentless noise set of the weekend – and it was ace. A quick mention for Mz_Pink’s rather great set between them and Covenant, too…

Who, speaking of which, were fabulous (again), with quite likely the biggest crowd I have seen for one band in six years of Infests. A bit of a subdued start to the set – brand new opener Ritual Noise (which was rather good) followed by the odd choice of Rising Sun and then a few more new ones (including what will be – if I recall correctly – the new single End Of The Line), and the set only truly got going when Dead Stars kicked off. Follow that with old favourite Figurehead, then a glorious, sweeping Tour de Force and a closing Call The Ships To Port, with a rather clever trick of reducing the beats during the chorus so that it slams back in even harder – the first time it happened seemed to lift the entire crowd about a foot in the air. Add an encore of We Stand Alone (again, another euphoric sing-a-long) and an old song I can’t remember the name of, and I’d say it went kinda well…

Sunday was a bit of a comedown after that. Totally missed Deviant UK (although generally reports were positive), and having heard a minute or so of Final Selection, I decided I didn’t need any more 80’s synthpop. Ditto Iris.

kiEw, on the other hand, I did want to see. Opinions following it were heavily mixed, but I thought they were great. Another act that appeared to be enjoying themselves immensely, and they are another noise-industrial band that have fucked with perceptions a little and actually made it more than just two [blokes, typically] behind some electronics. So we got a stageshow based around the idea of Audiotherapy, and the use of guitars and a bass! And, judging on the volume, our ears got a good clean out too – they were really fucking loud. Highlights were Graograman, Synapsenbrecher and a storming DC Disk.

Closing act of the weekend was inexplicably Blutengel, who frankly were shit. Overbearingly pretentious goth intro, a couple of female backing singers, two females in various states of undress, then Chris Pohl in a suit with a cane and shades. The tunes were dull, the vocals flat – oh, and no instruments whatsoever on stage – so this was effectively karaoke.

I should add that I endured a song and a half before leaving in disgust to head back to the bar – my camera had already concurred and brought on the “low battery” light – only to work again for the rest of the evening outside…

So all told, a bit hit and miss with some of the bands, but it was all great fun. Here’s to Infest 2006…

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