When I was asked to officially be part of Infest 2022, how on Earth could I say no? A free, access all areas, AAA pass to have my own space for interviews and meet some of my industrial idols, scene legends, and discover new artists? Slap me side ways and call that heaven; of course I said yes!
(Interviews to be released on the Infest YouTube soon!)
It was a wonderful return to Bradford, having first attended in 2019 before Elektro Vox started, full of flaws as I was then; This return was a wonderful chance not only to grow Elektro Vox in the scene but also to prove to myself how much I had grown as an individual since then.
I was unsure whether to write a review as I didn't catch half of the bands having been busy interviewing but I certainly now feel that I should share my personal highlights of the weekend now that it has had time to sink in.
First and foremost, a huge thank you to everyone involved in putting Infest together! It is insane how much work is required and involved behind the scenes and this is the ultimate A team. Everyone in the team just KNEW what needed to be done and everyone hit the ground running. It was like watching a colony of ants just instinctively knowing exactly what their role and mission was. I am truly in awe of how amazing these Goth ants in the guise of humans are!
It could be seen as the ultimate power of hyper focus when people are doing something they truly care about and enjoy.
These are some of friendliest and accommodating people around and the bands kept commenting to me about how well looked after and well treated they were, and that they had rarely experienced anything like it. Sadly not pictured, is Autumn who was still running Infest TV and a big well done to her for making the incredible mascot for this year.. Clem Rivet!
So well done Infest crew'22. You're all legends!
Autumn, Clem, and I introducing Attrition with a saxaboom solo
Although I will only really cover the bands I managed to see, let me say this.. I did catch at least a little bit of each band and every single band sounded REALLY good. Every single one of them knew exactly what the audience wanted and delivered their sets immaculately.
The highlight for me on day one for and many others no doubt, was Caustic! Not only did Matt Fanale put on a killer show of prescribed Caustic humour and anger in equal measure.. But we were also treated to Marie of grabyourface performing a day earlier than we expected, joining him for the track 'Not your body'.
This was an intense and poignant FUCK YOU to the patriarchy and the disgusting stripping of abortion rights. Needless to say the crowd LOVED it, loved Marie's energy, and loved the message. We were all part of Goth anti-Fascist history in that moment and I was very proud when Matt told me they had used my image for the single cover! Get you copy of 'Not your body on bandcamp HERE
Saturday was a lineup of epic proportions. Opening the first half we had the intense industrial techno of Vaein, then the aggressive beauty of Reichsfeid,then the absolutely incredible, and new discovery for me.. grabyourface
grabyourface does just that.. grabs you and MAKES you pay attention to everything there is to say. Marie's music is split in two. There is the deeply relatable pain of emotional lyrical content from memories past in a lot of their songs, to the violent power techno of world felt anger and passion that screams to be released.
Whether the current track is grabbing your heart or screaming in your face.. Marie is a hurricane, like an ancient fury possessing a human form, they flow in and out of humour, anger, sorrow, and a whole range of emotions grow in form between songs and each little track introduction speech. In this way Marie solidified their grip on the hearts and imaginations of those who had seen them kick it with Caustic the night before.
I have never seen a dance floor THAT FULL so early in to a long festival day. Not only were we blessed with the stellar performance of Marie, but Matt Fanale took his turn to join grabyourface on the stage and once again blew our fucking minds!
I'm honoured I got to hang out with such a cool artist for a fair part of the weekend.
Do yourselves a favour and check Marie's music out!
Even though I only saw a couple of songs, a big shout out to Glass Apple Banzai because not only was Daniel the most fun to interview over the weekend, but he also played one hell of a fun show. You see the inflatable unicorn yea? Maybe the flamingo on the right too? This band knows how to party, and party damn fun!
When I saw that Wynardtage was playing and including his Hydroxie project too, I was ecstatic. Wynardtage is one of the main reasons I fell in love with industrial. To finally meet Kay and watch this set was incredible beyond words to me. What I was really not ready for was the gravitas of the moment..
This was only his third live show in such a long and distinguished career and quite possibly, his last ever as he now wishes to focus on helping Timo flourish with Reichsfeind.
I of course stood centre front barrier and let the pounding aggrotech waves take me. I have never in all my time in industrial every heard live industrial THAT GOOD. Each soundwave sent rushes of dopamine down my spine, my chest was awash with endorphins and not just because I am biased in loving the band; This was the purest industrial techno / Aggrotech that makes this type of music so damn pleasurable to me.
I could not stop smiling from ear to ear with how wonderful the set was. I even began to cry as Kay also cried during one of the near end set songs which has never happened to me anywhere other than Heilung.
There are very few bands in the world that can make you feel naturally high, but Wynardtage vs Hydroxie did exactly that.
I was and still am stunned at this possible once in a life time moments of pure bliss and 'If there is no tomorrow' (song pun) this may be one of the last things I reminisce about in my final moments on Earth.
When I was told I could do the announcement for Suicide Commando, I was more than a little bit happy to say the least! I first saw them play at E-tropolis Germany and ran up to Johan like a terrified schoolkid asking for a selfie before running away again all embarrassed. Years later here I was, having just added him to my ever growing list of video interviews, and now I was introducing him to the stage with a speech on making fun of the insults thrown at us alternative types. It was quite surreal..
Needless to say, Suicide Commando kicked the utter crap out of us all! The vocals, the sound, the visuals, and the atmosphere was one of ecstatic, shared joy as we partied away the entire set to this king of industrial.
The final day I was exhausted, especially having had the last of my energy devastated by Monya's stomping end to the Saturday night.
I only got the chance to watch two bands properly on Sunday. The first was Klack (Another show with Matt Fanale!) who raised everyone's spirits so incredibly high, that we all forgot how exhausted we were and provided us with some huge serotonin dropping beats and songs. What a fantastic band Klack are!
Second was the intense, and overwhelmingly powerful Moaan Exis.. Imagine a flurry of tidal waves made purely from the sonic booms of a thousand drums crashing against the bodies of the infest crowd and you may yet start to get an idea of what it felt and sounded like. Very few bands out there can hit as hard as these guys.
This was one of standout moments of the festival, the moment death came for our ear drums and they were found wanting.. Bliss.
I would like to make a special note for Empathy Test who sounded crystal clear and really turned my view around on their live shows with how good that set sounded from the pieces I caught. So, thank you Isaac, that was great!
A huge thank you to Maedon and Adam X for blasting us to bits with their ending techno sets. I am so sorry that us English folks are so dead come Sunday evening unlike the Berlin crowds; You both deserved a full dance floor but please take it as a compliment that many of the crowd chose to slink back in to the night, because they feared that your music would finish off and kill them, draining the last morsels of their life force away with your sick beats. For those of us that saw you, we loved you!
Finishing off the festival on the most perfect of notes was Lexx (previously known as GOHMA). NO ONE DJ's as hard or as stylish as Lexx. I've heard a lot of DJ sets in my life but every single time, Lexx smashes out a set better than anyone else. I may always be biased towards friends but even if I had never met Lexx, I would still have to need assistance in scraping my jaw and my danced to death limbs off of the dance floor each time I heard her sets both online, at Resistanz, and now at Infest. To be fair, I did feel like I had to scrape myself off of the dancefloor once her set finished, so thank you Lexx and to Infest for ending on such a high!
Infest is a family; Whether it is the camaraderie of the crew, the joining of old friends and new, the respect the bands are shown, or the love for the scene, Infest feels like home to so many.
I deeply thank everyone involved, bands, crew, the crowds, you all shone a light on what makes us such a beautiful and safe community and I can't wait to see you all again next year.
Until then my friends, never let the music inside you fall silent..
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