All of them in one lump
Another example of music that really doesn't work live. One bloke bopping along behind a laptop and some controls and by the looks of it, not really doing much (unlike, say, Architect). I really wanted to like it because I like the direction he's taking his powernoise (a bit like IDM, a bit like Breakcore) but it just left me cold. It might well have been better if the sound had been mixed better but he was the first one on so they probably didn't care much. I liked the ambient section but that wasn't quite enough to save the performance.
I listened to the first track from the front stairs but soon got bored of the synthpop, so I left for a curry. Reaper had at least a nice punch and beat to it.
The surprise for me at the festival. Admittedly, I didn't know much of their material and only own one EP (from a while ago) and that didn't exactly take me off my seat but that live performance did. The band consisted of a frontman/singer, a guitarist/keyboarder/backing vocalist and a bloke on synth/knob twiddling duty. Everybody on stage was really up for it and as sogoth said, it was very clear they had fun and they appreciate the audience's reaction (very positive), too. The guitarist even took a couple of photos. ;o)
The unusually staccato, almost hip-hop vocal style really worked with the more industrial/rock backbeat. Just when I thought the style was getting a little tiring/samey, they changed and played a quieter number and a few more EBMish numbers after that.
The energy of the stage performers swept over to the audience and everyone around me was bouncing around merrily to the tunes. This might not have been perfect or anything intricate musically but it was a hell of a lot of fun. Absolutely ace in my book.
Wai Pi Wai
From the stage energy of Stromkern back to a table with electronic gear and a laptop and two blokes behind them pushing buttons and twiddling knobs.
Another side project of Ah Cama Sotz' Herman Klapholz, this is again Powernoise but with a twist. Yes, it's full of harsh beats, screeches, modulations and samples but the structure varies a lot and there are melodic synth lines and ambient sections interwoven into the tracks. Unlike S.K.E.T.'s the night before, WPW's set never got boring or samey as they came up with something new in every track. The sound was the best of the knob twiddlers of the weekend but that could have been because the guy from Hands was actually controlling the mixing board rather than the hired sound engineer. Brilliant.
Probably the act most of the attendees were waiting for. After a ten year absence, industrial pioneer Bill Leeb came back to the UK, with a new album (which most fans seem to consider the best in ten years, too) and a new band in tow.
This band was what really made the performance for me, especially the superb drummer (an actual, analogue drumkit with metal cymbals and everything) who produced some of the tightest (break) beats I've ever heard live.
I have to admit that I know very little of their material for one reason or another (getting into Industrial really late in my life is probably one of them) so raggedy_man, dmh or sogoth will be more qualified to talk about how the songs came across so I'll simply concentrate on the experience.
I simply stayed back a bit (and even further when the shoving started), bounced along and enjoyed the ride. The performances were spot on, the sound was good and there was one hell of an atmosphere in the crowd. The highlight for me was when they broke out the drums and had a real tribal thing going. Excellent.
( Bigger and more )
Where to start and how to write it so as not to sound like a complete fanboy? Let's start from the beginning.
I will never be able to understand why it took the UK so long (two years) to really catch on to this superb (for wont of a better word because their music is so much more) EBM band from Germany but they are finally here properly and as the Saturday headliner to boot, at the top where they belong. I wasn't at Infest last year but I'm sure they made a suitable impression on everyone there so that the organisers booked them as headliners.
Their more recent success is undoubtedly at least partly due to the superb track Exterminate Annihilate Destroy with the Dalek sample. The funny thing is that they actually didn't know the source of the sample (Dr Who is virtually unknown in Germany, I only heard about it when I moved over here) - as came to light in an interview on the MissJinny show where they were asked who their favourite Doctor was and they didn't understand the question. ;o)
I'm also glad they were headliner because the sound was perfectly mixed and there were no technical glitches except for the odd feedback or two when Rascal stepped in front of a speaker. I was standing right in front in the center so didn't get the brunt of the main speakers. In fact, psychokatuk's screeches and screams were harder on the ears than anything from the stage. ;oÞ
As with Unter Null, I wasn't sure how exciting the show would be as it's just three people: Rasc on vocals, Gun on keyboards/guitars and Krischan on decks/sequencers and other black boxes as well as backing vocals but they delivered everything I could possibly hope for and more.
Right, the gig: I'm really crap and can't actually remember what song they started with but it took off right away and the audience was up for it from the start, too. I didn't see much of the audience because I was in the front row but there were some serious vibes coming from behind me and much applause and screaming. I do remember they played a nice hard version of Almost Violent (one of my favourites) very early on and there was a really good mix of old and new. Many of the tracks had a remix quality to them so sounded quite different from the CD, even if it was just Rasc changing his singing style.
The frontman is a bit of an animal, anyway, jumping and running across the stage, throwing his furry microphone stand (*shudder*) about, stepping in front the stage and jumping from speaker to speaker (almost kicking kneeshooter in the head at one point) or jumping onto the step on the other side of the security barrier and even jumping the barrier altogether and wander around the audience during one track (argh, which one was it?). Rasc can sing and really connects with the audience and that's exactly what an electronic band needs to distract from the lack of "real musicians" on stage.
If someone asked me which song was the best, I couldn't really tell because they were all performed well indeed but I guess it has to be Storm as the live drumming by Rasc and Krischan added an entire level to the song. They had two electronic drum kits facing away from each other (so the drummers would face each other) and drummed away like mad, Koto style. That worked really well and was a bit reminiscent of Feindflug, although they use real drums. Hm, I wonder what Rotersand would sound like if they added a real drummer like FLA did on the Sunday? Would be cool, no doubt.
Another fine moment was this:
Rasc: "Do you like harsh, industrial music?"
Audience: YAY! *screams* *stomps*
Rasc: "Then this one isn't for you."
Rotersand: *play One Level Down*
which is one of the slow pieces I really like. :o)
Just two photos came out but then again, I didn't really try hard, I was far too busy singing along (literally at one point during Last Ship, when Rasc shoved his microphone into my face and I shouted a "Fiery Skies" for everone to hear - mine was the second as psychokatuk refused ;oÞ):
I've been a fan ever since hearing Sick Fuck for the first time and the debut album Failure Epiphany is a fantastic piece of work because it's so varied.
It's not just harsh EBM with loads of powernoise influences, there elements from other genres of electronica, too, like trance and the harsh beats and breaks are intersected with wonderful melodic synths.
I hadn't been quite sure how well it would translate live as the music is purely electronic but I hoped that missnull's stage presence would make up for it - and it did. She's positively tiny but she compensates with a strong personality, like a tiny ball of anger and energy. ;o) The vocals are another strong point: Here's someone who can actually sing and as they used a lot fewer effects on her voice than on the album, it came across a lot stronger and, er, more live.
I also don't think anyone else could pull off dancing around the stage in a tiny white outfit and splattered in fake blood without looking ridiculous but it just fits the act very well.
The soundman probably wasn't very happy because there was a load of feedback every time missnull wandered off the stage onto the speakers in front or even in front of the main speakers but I actually didn't mind much because it was proof that she did sing live.
The 45 minute set covered the best of the album and some new material from the twin EP released in September. If what they played is any indication to the rest, this is going to be another must for my ever extending music collection.
Quite a few photos as the lights were a bit kinder and sogoth has some superb shots, too. Well done!
( Bigger and more )
Although I'm not a big fan of their music, it was good to see them. Their music is coming together nicely now and for Infest, the live vocals made all the difference. There was also enough variation in the songs to keep them interesting. I probably wouldn't buy their CD but I'd watch them again live at another festival or as a support for someone else without fleeing for the hills.
Unfortunately, the only photo that came out is of Daniel Myer who joined them on stage doing stuff with laptop and sequencers to return Steve's favour from the night before:
The first Powernoise act of the festival.
Now, there are two problems with this type of music in a live environment: Watching two blokes bent over a table with black boxes, pushing buttons and twiddling knobs while bobbing along to the beats isn't very exciting to watch (no interaction with the audience) and the average live PA system can't really cope with the dynamic range of Powernoise which means you'll lose out on the intricasies that make this music actually interesting rather than just the thumping beats and screeches.
At least they actually manipulated their music live (unlike Lab4 the night before), i.e. when they pushed a button or twiddled a knob you could actually hear teh change in the music.
Top stuff to listen or dance to at a club but not the most amazing thing live.
Harsh Electro/Terror EBM/whatever you call it these days by Vasi Vallis. Not exciting to look at (two "monks" on synths/sequencers and Vasi prancing around the stage like a prat) and the music got boring very quickly. Don't get me wrong, I'd play a track during a DJ set but I probably wouldn't be able to listen through a whole album in one go. No photos because they came out crap.
Unter Null (see separate entry)
Daniel Myer again, this time with his noise/ambient/electronica project. Unlike Destroid this wasn't much to look at (no vocals, just him and his mate on controls) but the music was ace. Even more than with S.K.E.T. before, all the manipulation was done live and as I understand, there were a few bits that were created completely ad hoc, too. I watched most of it from the back sitting on the stairs as I wanted to reserve my energy for Rotersand so I could watch the soundman who was frantically trying to keep up with all the pitch and volume changes they produced on stage. ;o)
They could have done some more ambient stuff but I guess it was too late in the evening for that and people wanted to dance so that's fair enough.
Rotersand (see separate entry)
Another brainchild of the ever present (at least at this festival, you couldn't go anywhere without bumping into him and he was on stage during three different sets) Daniel Myer. He was joined on stage by Steve of O.V.N.I. and Clint of Cut.Rate.Box who took care of the knob twiddling/synths.
The music was angry and hard EBM, so not really something that's interesting to watch but Myer's stage presence really saved the performance and made it interesting. Unlike Reaper the next day, the music was varied enough to remain interesting over those 45 minutes. There were changes of pace and structure, different melodies and styles so a nice and rounded set. Good stuff, will have to pick up the album at one point.
I only had my compact with me so most of the photos I took over the weekend came out too blurred to look at or over/underexposed beyond saving. Then again, I was there to enjoy the music and not to take photos so all was good.
Were, quite frankly, shit. Watching two knob twiddlers bouncing on stage is boring enough but watching two blokes who were pretending to twiddle knobs and push buttons was just impossible. It didn't help that the sound cut out twice (although that wasn't their problem, some cable had been damaged and took out the whole board) but it just showed that they were pretending because when it came back up again, the music just continued where it had left off...
Most of the people I talked to had a similar opinion but the "Cyberdog Dandies" (as raggedy_man calls them) seemed to have a good time.
In lieu of a photo of Lab4, here's one of the damaged cable: