Juggernauts/Empathy Test/Among The Echoes/Chemical Sweet
Kid/Riotmiloo/Sidewalks and Skeletons/They Called Him Zone
West Yorkshire - 25-27 August 2017
just love Infest, even when the bands aren't to my taste"
words follow - they may seem a little tongue in cheek, and the
pro-Infest sentiments are true. It's really great to see a UK festival
taking risks, mixing new acts with old and getting those who wouldn't
otherwise come to the UK over. It's more that some of the early acts
were a bit weak. This year the sound was really not as good as it
usually is in most cases - which was a shame.
Day 1: Friday 25th
They Called Him Zone
What might have been cutting edge and stylish nihilism in the 1980s
comes across as pretty dull and charmless. Effectively channelling
early Goth down to the compulsory shades just highlights how much the
rest of the world has moved on.
Bubbling with presence and confidence firing a shotgun of variations
on the theme of dark-edged lounge singing at a mostly confused
audience who can follow the broad musical strokes whilst missing any
lyrical subtlety in translation. A more hirsuite Ronan
Harris who tries a little too hard?
Photos [L-R]: They Call Him Zone, NoyceTM,
Infectious if straightforward beats touching lightly on other
influences as well as the mainstream, without trying to offer
anything too hard for the crowd to follow. Have to admire the
construction of the sound that produces such a reaction from the
crowd. Accessible might be a better name? But let's not get too
There is always a problem when you are frankly most enthusiastic
about your new material, but the audience wants the old, especially
when the style has changed perceptibly. However Rotersand walked the
path between artistic interest and audience with good success.
Overall solid, even though it felt overall a little more subdued and
slow to start than some other shows.
Day 2: Saturday 26th
In the world of noise acts it can be hard to stand out from the
masses. Your sound may be unique to a degree but what you really need
is a schtick. In a world which has medieval knights and C20th military
fetishism a mostly incomprehensible screechy vocalist, whatever their
gender, is not going to be enough. Though this afternoon with free
added local talent. The underlying music isn't without merit, but the
vocals try pretty hard to counterbalance that and drag it into the
Chemical Sweet Kid
Industrial rock of the unashamedly guitar variety from France with a
front man who has no lack of presence or confidence on stage when
given a chance. The original material is mixed - the tracks that work
best don't rush quite as fast as the majority. It feels sometimes that
the drum track dominates rather than supports the other parts of the
music and the unrelenting programmed timing suffocates the live human
Photos [L-R]: Riotmiloo, Chemical Sweet Kid, Empathy Test, Wulfband
Say 'synth' and 'big in Europe' and thoughts go more to europop than
the thoughtful melancholia served up here. Mature and confident sound
throughout though demanded a much better quality of PA then the stage
had to offer.
You can probably judge age and formative musical years from your
reaction to Wulfband. First channelling and then subverting angry
early EBM where masks and muscles are about menace rather than clowns.
And then the wrestling starts.
There's a choice with acts like this - surrender and go with what was
a pretty accessible set, or try and fight it in which case its best to
head for the bar. Range of influences expertly marshalled, though
perhaps lighter on the breaks in the first half than had been
When you have been around as long as Die Krupps it is clear that a
crowd of 700 deserves the same show as a crowd of 7,000. What could
cruelly be described as going through the motions is actually a slick,
well rehearsed show. It may lack spontaneity and arguably at times
authentic empathy with the audience but it is over an hour of
entertaining rock music.
Photos [L-R]: end.user, Die Krupps, Among The Echoes, Sidewalks and
Day 3: Sunday 27th
Among the Echoes
There comes a point in a man's life where he needs a hobby to keep
himself from noticing how little he has achieved. Some people buy a
sports car, some have an affair, others rediscover a lost childhood
love for Lego, Doctor Who or model trains. Others play in a rock
Sidewalks and Skeletons
Confident without being ponderous, modern without being
ostentatious. Mix of broad soundscapes showcasing a range of
influence and perfectly washed over and revitalised the audience -
many of whom seemed captivated without quite knowing why.
In an effort to investigate whether it is possible to have too much
of a good thing, VA throw a number of influences into a cement mixer
and see how they settle. On the plus the dark drum and bass
foundations are broad enough to support most of what they layer on
top, but all too often the vocals send the tower crashing to the
ground in a jumbled mess.
Photos [L-R]: Vampyre Anvil, The Juggernauts, iVardensphere, Revolting
The music says old school straight EBM with a clear beat and semi
comprehensible vocals; but the image says tongue firmly in cheek.
Close your eyes and the stomp is there, but open them and that clarity
of approach is lost, which isn't lost on the crowd whose interest
noticeably wanes as the set goes on.
The beat is contemporary without being over complex - the crowd is
grabbed by the sheer dominance of the percussion that you feel more
than hear, the drums synchronize and amplify. There are no gimmicks,
no lack of confidence, no indecision to give a chance to breath or
escape - even if you wanted to. But there is a crack in flaw in the
gem - the vocals. Thankfully though used relatively sparingly, the
vocals are as likely to fight against rather than reinforce the noise
- and that is just a terrible shame.
Small eclectic festivals that draw from a broad base of artists can be
wonderfully educational, especially when the headliners look to scene
past more than scene future. So it is with RevCo, who bridge between
EBM and industrial guitar rock - in a package honed by years of
on-stage and studio practice. Despite initial sound problems (not for
the first time this Infest) they soon get down to business and gift
the crowd a solid set that serves up a treat to the fans.
Oh I just love Infest - even when the bands aren't to my taste. It is
a really brave, innovative event that regularly brings bands to the UK
for the first time. 8/10
Photos: (C) Simon @ Disturbing
Official Infest website: InfestUK.com