INFEST – 23rd to 26th August 2018, University of Bradford UK.

INFEST – 23rd to 26th August 2018, University of Bradford UK.

So, it’s been twenty years; twenty years of an annual pilgrimage to the University of Bradford, which is lovingly termed as “Industrial Summer Camp” by many here in the UK.  Twenty years since three students cobbled together the first ever event and not many of us could back then, have seen it still being here now.

Under the guidance of Terminal Productions, Infest is simply the only real event of this nature on these shores; and this year, in celebration of such a milestone, they extended the length to physically crippling four days.  Some festivals abroad may actually go on longer than this normally; but the folk over here know how to give it some and I knew this was going to be an exhausting, but exhilarating experience as always.

DAY ONE – 23rd August 2018.

Completely flummoxed that it was actually a Thursday I headed over with my usual throng and ran the usual yearly catch ups with folk before considering more drink and of course, the bands.

The difficulty with anything coming before tonight’s headliners were that they were always going to be somewhat brushed off ever so slightly as the eagerness set in for the main act.  The North West of England provided us GRAVE DIGGERS UNION, who promised eclectic drones and Post-Punk.   Unfortunately though, these guys didn’t get the juices flowing at all. A mix of steady drums, pondering monotone vocals and B-Movies synth lines left me far from enthralled; and when one friend proclaimed (much to my surprise) they were “better than on record” and another “They’re like the worst of 4ad” we left the floor for more beer just a few tracks in, shrugging our shoulders.

Completely consumed in chatting away and vast amounts of alcohol we were caught completely of guard with the start of female fronted ZEITGEIST ZERO.  Another band claiming the overused terminology of Post-Punk, for me they showed little influence to justify the tag; however, they were thankfully infused with an energy missing from tonight’s openers, with a brash mix of heavy guitars, percussion and a smattering of trance-like keyboards.

The main coup of the weekend was the headliners PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT; and we were definitely not missing one moment of this.  I have seen Hooky and his cohorts a number of times now and will be doing so in the future as well; and I was quite surprised by just how many people here hadn’t bothered witnessing him live before.  With a set that mainly played to the strengths of Joy Division we were treated to an invigorating show that capitalised on a lot of the crowds age, with ‘New Dawn Fades’ and ‘Transmission’ to name just two.  The New Order elements of the show picked up the audience with ‘Temptation’, ‘True Faith’ and ‘Blue Monday’ and we were all jumping around like maniacs.  Closing the show with ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, I noticed there weren’t many dry eyes in the house; and people were singing their praises for the rest of the weekend too.  A truly amazing set, by a truly amazing bloke and his slightly altered band for the evening; this was probably one of the best performances I have seen in all twenty years at this festival.

Completely buzzing from the headline show, I didn’t really want to watch any more acts that night; but Infest had other ideas, with the odd placement of club filler EMPIRION, which were there to lead people to the dance floor into the early hours. I get it, but Hooky and co were just too good to follow; and after watching one song we elected to stay outside for a couple and then head home, to get some rest to store the reserves for the rest of the weekend. Not being a fan at all of these guys I didn’t take much persuading.

DAY TWO -24th August 2018.

Earlier in the day I had convinced myself we had to be there early doors.  Of course, it crept up on me later that it was actually Friday. After oiling our bones with alcohol we made our way to the front to catch the enthusiastic duo of DEF NEON.   Shouty, riotous vocals, Rickenbacker Bass in hand with an accompanying heavy guitars and samples, we were treated to an enthralling set that felt like the soundtrack to the 80’s pixelated ride of ‘Outrun’.  The sound guys needed a slap here as they turned it down two tracks in, but the sheer energy of the guys on stage counteracted any issues provided there; with vigour and infectious enthusiasm abound.  Great stuff overall and just what the doctor ordered to get the evening rolling. I doubt they will get away with the latter songs being allowed on record though due to copyright issues that will arise from the samples used. Brilliant nonetheless.

SIVA SIX only managed to get a couple of tracks in before I headed outside. Their rather bland version of harsh electro simply isn’t up my street and has been done boringly to death; and I wanted to save myself for later.

I have been following Yann and his mighty ISZOLOSCOPE for years. Yes, he is just one man on stage and could have done with some visuals tonight; but the guy is the epitome of energy and this definitive Powernoise stalwart commands nothing but respect.  The beats and ambient blasts of noise that weave their way throughout his structured rhythms, never fail to get a crowd moving and tonight was no different.  Yann will always be awesome; Iszoloscope is awesome.

The return of CUBANATE recently has provided much excitement amongst the scene as everyone loves their older bands to still be relevant; and still be accessible as a figurehead for a genre.  The crowd were going crazy, the pit was as hilarious as it was in parts brutal; and the songs were battered out with absolute fury.  There were no pints in hand at the front as Heal and Barry (tonight joined by Reza Udhin on drums) literally crushed the audience with a set riddled from dance floor crushers ‘Body Burn’ and ‘Oxyacetylene’ amongst others; and the responsive audience were a sea of sweat and smiles all round. The lesson here is; old school is always the best school.


DAY THREE- 25th August 2018.

Feeling somewhat bedraggled and worn out, being a day ahead of myself was always going to be challenging; and it took a few drinks, food and watching people churn their insides up on a bouncy castle outside, before I was ready for tonight.  Due to lack of pacing myself, I had unfortunately missed my chums FLESH EATING FOUNDATION (who I have already seen) and was only there in time to catch the tail end of ADAM IS A GIRL, whose sultry vocals and downbeat guitar led rhythms could have actually been right up my street at that time of day if I hadn’t felt so rough and had a comfy chair to sit on.

YURA YURA provided the rhythm from the Hands label offering for the weekend.  I struggle to put many albums on from the stable nowadays as time goes by, but overall, most of their acts always give an audience just what they need at a given time in a festival.  Hypnotic beats that grind and pulse away to get the body moving (or groaning in my case); and whilst they will never set the world alight, they got an approving nod from me.

Vancouver’s’ ACTORS are really making a name for themselves and another band tossing around the Post-Punk banner, but actually the term is quite fitting in a White Lies sort of way musically.  I was a bit of a mess at this point I have to admit; and my attention wasn’t what it should be, but a sturdy set gave them a bit of an edge tonight that is ever so missing from their pleasant recordings, that require just a bit more grit to truly grab me. This means they’re most likely going to make it quite big.

From Daniel Myer’s unending, exhausting list of projects, LIEBKNECHT was up next.  A colder edged techno vibe going on here and a fairly decent one at that overall; but that’s basically all there is to say about it.  I sometimes wish Daniel would cut some of the ties to other outlets and concentrate on the main ones as not to spread himself so thinly.

I have a soft spot for Bristol’s finest, MESH, especially live; and tonight’s headliners were just what I needed. Stood with my friends we chanted out chorus after chorus, with lots of hugs all bouncing all round.  Yes the lyrics can be a touch cheesy and some people can’t get over the beany hat (idiots); but the bands longevity and ability to create a hook cannot be denied.  You will all know the songs by now and that in itself speaks volumes.  The first time these guys headlined, they left everyone a bit down, but tonight we were all smiles and full of appreciation for a worthy top spot; and everyone one was feeling quite emotional during ‘Friends Like These’, accompanied by a stream of audience selfies and whatnot.

Once again, Infest decided to throw a support act in to bridge the gap between show and club; and whilst the masked SARIN churned out beat after beat, I simply wasn’t in the mood and didn’t want to be brought down from the elation of dancing with friends to the main act whose lyrics were still pumping round my head.  Much drinking, chatting and judging a taxi ride home were all that was left to pursue.

DAY FOUR- 26th August 2018.

Today was always going to be hard and with only one band on todays bill I like, it was a real struggle to get motivated.  Barely making it from my pit I was down on numbers of friends as people were dropping like flies. Either way, after a couple of drinks and lots of grunts and moans from mates who I assume felt as bad as me; we re-arranged body clocks to try get a second (Third? Fourth?) wind, to get through the evening.  The victims of this zombie lethargy were PROMENADE CINEMA and MASSENHYSTERIE, who I watched through a veil of swamp like fog of my own doing; and I have to admit everything was rolling into one at this point with the synth pop and dance beats of female led acts becoming cluttered in my head, thinking back.  Both appeared to be decent, but I have to be honest and apologise, even though they were dramatically different, it’s all but lost on me looking back now.

VALHALL came on stage just as I was perking up somewhat.  Flying the Witch House banner as a genre was enough to spark my interest.  Musically they were on point, but my friends and I gave up midway, once we realised the vocalist couldn’t hold down a note, even if her life depended on it.

The pop musings of synth driven ELEGANT MACHINERY were decent enough.  Not exactly my cup of tea; as I didn’t have a hook to latch onto, but were worth a shout for a few tracks due to their competency live.

STRVNGERS got an enthusiastic response from the audience; and many people have been singing their praises since witnessing them.  I am not going to knock their professionalism, nor their ability to write music, but once again, something didn’t sit well enough for me and I am struggling to put my finger on it now.  The songs all seemed to have something distinct about them that made them different from the last; but regardless of the changes, my mind screamed “Emo!“ (even if they’re most likely not) at me and I had to walk away.

Thankfully a band that I love came to the stage to save the day. THIS MORN’ OMINA tore into a blistering set full of tribal rhythms and dance driven electronics with Mika playing his part as the consummate frontman.  Long gone is the Powernoise tag that was incorrectly thrown at them years ago and now they are a fully-fledged band.  This is an act I have seen a number of times and they never fail live. For the first time of the night I got to have a jump around and even the security guard on the steps loved them too; singing along to an array of indistinct powerful chants as the beats cut their way through the noise.

Now; my major gripe of the weekend. I put my hand up when they were announced and still stand by what I said then. AESTHETIC PERFECTION don’t seem like a fitting headliner to the end of a weekend such as this for me. We already had Hooky, Cubanate and Mesh fly the flag at the top of their respective nights by this point, but a Sunday headliner should always be huge for me; and whilst these guys have done well and sell a fair bit, they do not command what the other headliners do in the clout stakes. I saw a bit and wandered away as I am not a fan of their songs; they performed well and I will leave it at that.


So that’s it; another year and Happy 20th Birthday to Infest. I partied and wobbled into the night, catching up with all my friends from all over the UK and beyond for another year.  This year was a mixed bag of acts and whether I liked them all or not is irrelevant.  We all have our likes and dislikes and some will like other bands that I do not; and I wouldn’t change that for the world, as the one thing that Infest always provides is variation.  I would be bored senseless if all the bands were the same; and love the challenge of exploring something new.

Next year has already started with pre-sales going up at the weekend, with Nitzer Ebb already announced (and who wants to miss that?!).

Thank you to the tireless effort of the Infest crew for bringing us this weekend year in, year out. Thank you to my friends for making the weekend what it always is. I will however struggle if it’s anything more than three days next time out as I am still recovering now; with a smile on my face of course.



PREVIEW: INFEST 23rd TO 26th August 2018, University of Bradford UK.

PREVIEW: INFEST 23rd TO 26th August 2018, University of Bradford UK.

Who would have thought that 20 years ago after the exploits of a few Bradford University students, we would still be here celebrating another year and another Infest.  The tenacity of the crew that put this together year on year has to be applauded, as I am sure it is a slog to piece together something that will appeal to the many; continuing the longevity of the festival for years to come.  Here I will preview this year’s event, as in reality it will come round quick enough.  For the first time in its history, Infest will be spread over four nights instead of three, so I expect to be twice as knackered come Monday.  The great news here is, that it costs no more for the entire weekend ticket; bargain.

THE HEADLINERS (and a couple of follow up acts):

First up, I have seen a fair few people who have taken a look at the schedule and been confused as to the placements on the bill for Empirion (Thursday) and SARIN (Saturday).  Before I proceed, these guys are not actually headliners; both have been dragged in to provide late night Techno (ish) sets well after their respective main events have finished their shows.  The attempted vibe here I assume, will be to capture something you sometimes get at clubs such as Slimelight, where a band will often make an appearance in the early hours of the morning to spice things up a little.  I am sure both are up to the task, although I am not so keen on the former musically speaking.  There may be a danger that some might not be hanging around for the club afterwards, so I suspect there is an element here of providing a treat for those that don’t relish their beds (or standard dancing to a DJ) after a heavy evenings drinking.

So on with the actual headliners.

Thursdays slot was met with mixed emotions initially, but with overall positivity. To the great surprise of many, PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT have been announced to bring a set comprising of New Order and Joy Division classics to the Bradford stage.  For those that have not witnessed Hooky live (or indeed too young to catch Joy Division, which I suspect many are), I can’t state enough just how great this guy and his band are on stage; and I have come away from all their shows I have previously attended, thoroughly elated; I bet you will too.

Friday brings the brutal Industrial carnage of CUBANATE.  It was many years ago I witnessed these guys, with one show being firmly stamped in my head as they utterly destroyed The Sisters of Mercy, supporting them in Manchester. Overall, a thoroughly fitting act for the weekend’s festivities.

MESH return to the Infest stage on Saturday, after popular demand.  I have to admit a certain guilty pleasure to listening to a lot of the Bristol boys’ earlier work. I also feel that this is the right positioning on the roster too with a club set by the aforementioned SARIN coming after.  Many were left feeling a little mopey after their last headlining slot on a Sunday; understandably so, considering the gloomy subject matter that pervades many of their songs. Either way, a deserved space on the bill.

The Sunday headliner has always felt like the main billing for me, so I will be honest and say I am a little disappointed. After 20 years I expected something more of a big hitter and not AESTHETIC PERFECTION.  I am not a fan of their music at all and simply cannot place them above the bands that will take the top step on the preceding nights.  I am not of course, the many; and as I spend most of my days in a well of Dark Ambient and old Post-Punk, it’s likely my comments here won’t mean much to the general Infest attendee.  There are so many other acts that are more worthy of this opportunity though, regardless if you like their music or not.


Bands directly immediately underneath the headliner, really have to bring their ‘A’ game.  It’s that point in the night where people really want to see the top slot more often than not.  Luckily, Infest usually does well at providing something of worth to keep the impatient throng entertained.

Thursday brings the alternative Rock/Goth/Darkwave musings of ZEITGEIST ZERO.  In the grand scheme of things that seem to have gained a strong following, even if they just do so-so songs we have all heard before.  They’re not really my cup of tea and I will be mentally willing them off stage to get Hooky and co on as soon as is possible.

Friday ups the game tremendously with the Canadian lunatic (and all round good egg) Yann and his mighty project, ISZOLOSCOPE.  Just how this act has not graced the Bradford stage before is quite beyond me. Rhythmic frenetic beats and razor wire electronics over a foundation of dark ambient soundscapes always makes for an engaging show; and Yann is one of the best in the business.

LIEBKNECHT are top slot of the undercard come Saturday.  The minimal discography doesn’t on paper correlate with the positioning on the bill; that is of course until you realise this is Daniel Meyer of Haujobb/Architect fame. Expect cold electronics sitting upon a dark beat driven mass; and one man who has always had that knack of getting a dance floor stomping.

Sunday produces for me the band to upstage the main headliner.  THIS MORN’ OMINA are a band with a long tenure of the scene, providing a mash up of distorted beats and tribal infused Industrial, with more than enough of a smattering of melody.  I haven’t seen Mika Goedrijk’s pack perform a bad show yet; and I imagine the throng will lap this show up with gusto.


I have to say that when this years acts were announced, there wasn’t a great deal of bands I had actually heard of before.  This isn’t a bad thing though, as Infest has always prided itself on bringing newer acts to the ears of the many; which has to be applauded somewhat.

Grave Diggers Union (Thursday) don’t enthuse me unfortunately.  Dodgy Goth vocals and ‘B’ movie horror synths are going to provide a painful wait alongside Zeitgeist Zero on the long road to Hooky; but hey, maybe they’re amazing live?

On Friday we have Siva Six bringing their standard electro fare, after Welsh openers Def Neon, from the Analogue Trash stable; whose quirky electro-pop simplicity sits better on my shoulders than the band that follows them.

Saturday calls the crowds to be there early doors. Top of the support comes from Vancouver’s ACTORS, who with more than of a touch of Post-Punk have my attention at least, even if the recorded matter hasn’t fully engaged me yet; there’s still time.

YURA YURA bring their standard HANDS label affair and are fairly decent all in all, but the album ‘Rumu Namba’ was an appalling mess.  I just hope they stick to their ‘Be Sexual’ period.  The Sultry vocals of Adam is a Girl sound like this will be a promising show and should be quite a leap in genre from openers Flesh Eating Foundation, who should riotously kick Friday nights cobwebs and hangovers into touch with their own take on punk-ish electro Industrial.

Sunday has a web of acts I haven’t encountered before now.  Strvngers (Strangers? Strungers?-yeah that’s not even a word) seem to have a lot of people making noise about them, surprisingly so as they appear to be a blend of Darkwave-come-pop.  They do seem to have a touch of urgency about them so could be pretty special live; we will see.  I have never really been a fan of Elegant Machinery, but what they do is pretty stable and competent synth pop, which should blend well with the acts surrounding them either side of the billing.

VALHALL are apparently a mix of Witch House, Neo-Folk and Dark Electronic music. I haven’t heard anything yet that suggests anything but the latter on the list, but it all seems well put together enough.  I don’t think Neo-Folk would put a smile on many a face at Infest anyway (apart from me I guess).

Massenhysterie are one of those acts I will watch to review whilst struggling not to cover up my ears.  I know they have their supporters, but their blend of by the numbers electro pop and done to death cod fetish imagery does nothing for me, not one jot; unless I am missing something here?

Openers Promenade Cinema sound like they might just be the right ticket for a Sunday opening slot, when everyone no doubt, will be utterly knackered after the previously three nights; which is more days than they will have been used to by this point.  Their approach to the Foxx school of synth might just be the ticket we all need whilst rubbing the sleep out of our eyes.

Overall there is much on here genre speaking, for the variety of fans we encounter under the same umbrella. I for one am looking forward to celebrating 20 years of Infest, where people come together like one big family year on year.  Admittedly this year, there are only a few snippets here and there that I personally would enjoy normally; but that’s what Infest is all about and you can’t please everyone all of the time.  The social aspect of this event is every much bit as important as the music itself; and I am looking forward to a longer weekend away than previous years.

Book your tickets here now.

PREVIEW: INFEST 25th-27th August 2017, University of Bradford UK

PREVIEW: INFEST 25th-27th August 2017, University of Bradford UK

I don’t normally do previews, but given the longitude of the event and my attendance of the festival being at 100%, I feel it’s due that I give a little bit of love; in the hope that some people who have never been to the event, maybe give it a shot this year.

In 1998 a bunch of students pulled resources to put together a festival for alternative music in the north of England.  Here we are 19 years later, going from strength to strength, with many years of hard work and backing from Terminal Productions.

Infest has always served to bring a wide selection of bands from many a genre within the alternative scene; with a worthy selection of headliners supported by up and coming acts and those with a solid proven fanbase. Indeed, Infest has a proven track record of bring acts to the UK spotlight; and indeed many of these artists have gone on to better things because of it.

This year, there are a couple of big hitters, surrounded by a web of relatively smaller acts and some moderately larger ones, providing enough intrigue as to some groups many of us will not have encountered before.


First up, the band that has caused a lot of buzz about the event this year.  REVOLTING COCKS are one of my all time favourites; and this type of act is long overdue to appear in the UK, let alone Infest.  For me, RC ended as a project after their brilliant ‘Linger Ficken’ Good’ album.  With three solid studio albums and one live affair, this was all that was needed to cement the act at the pinnacle of Industrial music history. Unfortunately, Al Jourgensen chose to carry on as ‘Revco’, with a bunch of albums I generally ignored.  So for me, the line up that will tread the boards in Bradford this year will be the real deal; and a proposed set of ‘Big Sexy land’ and other hits has me chomping at the bit.

DIE KRUPPS are another bunch of legends that are a worthy headliner of any festival; and command a great deal of respect.  Nowadays, most of the music they produce has teetered off into Metal territory; and whilst I like the genre, I do hope they pull out some old Industrial classics.  Either way; miss these guys at your peril, as I am sure they will more than rise to the occasion.

ROTORSAND have been around for quite a while now; and whilst they’re not really my cup of tea, I fully appreciate their ability to get an audience moving (after witnessing them live a couple of times before).  Either way, they fit the Friday night headlining slot well.


This next section of the line up provides information on artists that have been around for a while now, have a large fanbase; and whilst being well known outside of the UK, are slowly making in-roads here.  Longevity provides them with a healthy late playing slot on the bill.

ACCESSORY have been exciting European audiences for a while now with their blend of emphatic synths and energetic dance-floor oriented rhythms; and we expect no less on this occasion.

NOYCE™ are one of those acts that have quite possibly gone under the radar in the UK.  I remember encountering them many years ago; and their blend of German synth-pop reminds me somewhat of countrymen Melotron, in many a respect.

END.USER hailing from the USA, is one of the other acts on the bill that has got me genuinely excited, with his blend of intricate breaks, Drum N’ Bass; and hyper Industrial technicality.  With a healthy discography to boot, there should be plenty in his arsenal to absolutely slay the Bradford gathering this year.  I will be at the front.

IVARDENSPHERE are likely to be up here because of a line up pulled from other well-known acts within the scene. Known to be crowd-pleasing and having a genuinely solid following in the UK; makes them well placed to keep the crowds happy late on a Sunday night when everyone is starting to flag.


Amongst this section we have a couple of acts that have caught my attention; and a few others, which provide a suitable warm up at early doors.  RIOTMILOO produced an excellent album recently for the Ant-Zen label; and her infectious stage presence should have pulled her just a bit further up the bill.  Opening up on Saturday is a shame, as I fear some people will miss what promises to be an excellent visceral display of conscientious musical protest; and I implore you to get out of bed and not miss this.

Jason Novak and Sean Payne should be no strangers to the Infest crowd; and their project VAMPYRE ANVIL should appeal to those who appreciate the works of Cyanotic, Acucrack and Acumen Nation.  I thoroughly expect this to be a loud and engaging affair.

Amongst the other support, we have other acts I simply know nothing about; such as Wulfband, Empathy Test, Chemical Sweet Kid, Juggernauts, Sidewalks & Skeletons, They Called him Zone and Among the Echoes.  The beauty of this is, that I might find a hidden gem amongst them, as may you too.

In all fairness, I admittedly am a jaded fan of the scene in general nowadays (and it takes a lot to please me); but Infest is one of those events that isn’t just about the bands.  If you have never been before I highly recommend you visit this long standing festival that has stood the test of time.  With cheap accommodation, a genuinely friendly atmosphere and well-priced drinks and food, I guarantee you will come away with a smile on your face.  I have been every year without fail; and believe me, that in itself it is no mean feat.

For more information visit:

PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT: Manchester Apollo – 16th September 2016.


PETER HOOK & THE LIGHT: Manchester Apollo – 16th September 2016.

Set List:

Murder / Procession / Cries & Whispers / Ceremony / Everything’s Gone Green / Temptation / Blue Monday / Confusion / Thieves Like Us / The Perfect Kiss / Subculture / Shellshock / State of the Nation / Bizarre Love Triangle / True Faith / 1963

No Love Lost / Glass / From Safety to Where…? / Komakino / These Days / Warsaw / Leaders of Men / Digital / Autosuggestion / Transmission / She’s Lost Control / Incubation / Dead Souls / Atmosphere / Love Will Tear Us Apart

So, it’s just over 37 years and one month since Joy Division supported the Buzzcocks at this very venue; and therefore somewhat fitting that Hooky and his partners in crime, grace this homecoming stage for what is night two of their ‘Substance’ albums tour.

After an hour that involved buying a shirt, drinking beer and generally chatting to friends, it is time for the DJ to stop and Hooky and co to enter the stage.  I wasn’t too fussed at this being 15 minutes later than scheduled, due to the amount of catching up with folks; and gigs for me are about the social aspect as well as the music.

As suspected from reading the Glasgow set list from the night before, we are treated to Hooky’s interpretation of New Order’s ‘Substance compilation first, re-arranged to make a better fit live.  Everyone is in great spirits tonight and this is just the start of a nostalgia trip that kept on giving right through to the very end.  Personal favourites for set one were ‘Ceremony’, ‘Temptation’ and ‘True Faith’, which were duly aided by the assistance of the crowd bouncing and singing along no less.  Fantastic stuff.

A short intermission enabled myself and others to get a much needed toilet break (someone really needs to sort the loo’s out in the Apollo, as they have had long enough to do so); and get some more overpriced beers before set two commenced.

I will admit, that whilst I adore the works of New Order, I have always been a Joy Division fan first and foremost.  This inevitably means that whatever tracks in whichever order is fine by me.  Also, this set seems to stir the crowd up just that touch more; which I suspect is down to the historical aspect to the event, which I touched upon earlier.  I could cast no real favourite tonight as far as tracks go, because it all seemed just so perfect.  Ending the show on a particularly emotional ‘Atmosphere’ and ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’, really tugged the heartstrings and rallied the audience into full voice; and as the final notes played out, I really felt I was witnessing something special tonight.

Heading off into the night for our long journey home, I couldn’t help feel a spark of magic in the air that has been missing from many of the shows I have attended over the years.  This isn’t the first time I have seen Hooky and the lads outperform Sumner and co and it certainly won’t be the last; but this band, in this venue, on this night, will always sit long in my memory as a special one.

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INFEST: University of Bradford UK – 26/27/28 August 2016.


INFEST: University of Bradford UK – 26/27/28 August 2016.

Since its inception in 1998, sparked by three University students; the UK’s premier alternative music festival has grown from strength to strength, much in part from the later involvement and takeover of Mark Guy’s Terminal Productions.  Indeed this annual festival has weathered many a storm, battling through poor worldwide financial climates and the threats of other promoters trying their hands at possible rival shows.  With only one year of absence (due to the venue requiring much needed refurbishment), it’s testament to the promoters, staff and fans that this event is still going strong today.

I have attended every single Infest; and regardless of line up, always finding something to my liking.  This year I was more than excited at the prospect of an event that didn’t include an old faithful to draw in the crowd; relying on artists who had never attended the event before, with a great variation in style for good measure.  In all honesty, I never get to see all the bands, due to the internal wreckage I regularly cause myself the night before; but for me, the event is more than just music, it is as much about socialising.  There is a distinct lack of photographs here, because I simply didn’t take many whilst watching the bands, or those I did came out rather shaky (due to reliably strong beer).

Friday 26th: Pop Will Eat Itself– Dead When I Found Her – Me The Tiger – Massive Ego

Turning up early to catch up with folks I criminally only see once a year, coupled with others I have not hung out with in years; gave me time to customarily get a few beers and look through the expansive store brought by sponsors Storming The Base.  Also due to a few issues surrounding late equipment arrivals, bands this year were a little behind schedule and would be appearing late on stage, which meant more time for conversation and drink.  The plus side to this for Massive Ego was that they managed to open up to a full audience.  Regardless of this being a solid sounding set and visual effort on stage, their blend of rock-tinged synthpop did little to endear me to them personally.

With possibly one of the worst band names I have encountered in ages, a lot has been said about Me The Tiger.  I took time before this weekend to check these guys out; and luckily they are a lot better live than they are on record.  Whilst still not pressing all the right buttons for me, they certainly seemed to have the appreciation of the audience; popularity sealed with a lot of the crowd singing along.

Dead When I Found Her are another act where their blend of old school Industrial charm has been making waves of late.  I stayed for the first few tracks, which highlighted a couple of songs each from from their first two albums; and whilst I still appreciate the style, I must admit I get more out of listening to the older generation that built the genre, rather than newer outfits.

Suitably oiled with alcohol, there was only one band I really came to see on Friday.  Harking back to my days dossing around, pretending to do some form of higher education, my nostalgia was primed for stalwarts Pop Will Eat Itself.  Shaking off their Clint Mansell past and forging their own way, the poppies are intelligent and graceful enough to recognise that fans want the hits; regardless of how good their newer material may be. Much to my enjoyment, we got ‘Wise Up! Sucker’, ‘Ich Bin Ein Auslander’ and a whole host of other memorable slabs of past glories and a riotous time was had by all.  The indie edge that PWEI brought to the festival also shows just how far Infest has come; and all in all this left me in great spirits to the end of the night when it was time to go home.

Band of the day: Pop Will Eat Itself.

Saturday 27th: Atari Teenage Riot – Velvet Acid Christ – Grausame Töchter – Hysteresis – Monica Jeffries – Tapewyrm

This as normal is the first day proper for me; unfortunately though, it always starts the same.  Due to the damage I caused myself the night before, the only energy I could muster was relying on the hair of the dog, to drag myself back to normal in the company of great people.  This meant that by the time I was ready to watch anything, I had already missed Tapewyrm and Monica Jeffries, both of which I may add, I heard good reports about, so apologies to them both.

I have mixed emotions when it comes to Hysteresis; and this is mainly down to their albums in general (of which you can find reviews of a couple on this site).  However, they were more than enjoyable to watch live; and when they concentrated less on the dance side of their set, they really got me in the mood as the noisier elements started flowing.

I am guessing the majority of people watching Grausame Töchter were not doing so because they love their German blend of Industrial tinged rock (hey I may be wrong right?); and I lasted just a few tracks before heading off to the bar.  I will give them full marks for providing an actual ‘show’, which leant on nudity, sexuality; and urinating on stage.  However, as I am 42, I have seen and indeed touched naked ladies before, so that kind of gimmickry was never going to wash with me, nor make up for their rather average songs.

I was looking forward to seeing Velvet Acid Christ; another act that stirred up some nostalgic moments from my past when they were confirmed for the bill.  Indeed Brian pulled out a few classics such as ‘Dial8’ and it was good to see them live finally.  I was stood with a good friend watching this and we discussed in great length how we used to listen to this band with near Industrial legend status.  It’s at that point when you realise just how much your tastes evolve and move on over the years; and with no disrespect to VAC, they became just another act ticked off the list from a long distant memory.

Big things were expected of Atari Teenage Riot,  so I watched with an open mind.  Tonight however, they suffered with a flat sound; where beats hit an invisible wall just in front of stage, as opposed to punching a hole through your chest.  The edge the band used to carry with them as a weapon has all but fizzled out these days it would appear; and shouting “fuck!” a lot and stage diving doesn’t evoke enough of the ATR attitude of old.  Once again I took to looking at stalls, hanging out with friends and visiting other areas of the compound.

Band of the day: Hysteresis.

Sunday 28th: 3TEETH – Leæther Strip – Displacer – RRoyce – Vigilante – Johnny Normal

After getting Formula 1 out of the way (customary viewing on Infest weekend), my throng and I got our way over to Bradford as soon as possible.  As usual, the bar comes first and a few chats with friends along the way; inevitably meaning I missed Johnny Normal (of which I heard mixed reports) and I managed to catch the last track of what appeared to be a invigorating set from Vigilante (apologies to both).

As is customary, Infest always place a synthpop act on Sunday.  This year it was the turn of RRoyce, who brought an excellent vision of big chorus’ and clinically executed sounds.  Somewhat reminding me of elements of Xymox and Propaganda, I thoroughly enjoyed the set from start to finish; which is great considering I had never heard them before.  They’re utterly pleasant chaps to talk to too.

Next up was the act I came here to see.  I don’t tell any lies here and Mike is a friend; but I am honest and not afraid to criticise if needed.  However, Displacer stole the show today (and quite possibly the weekend), joined on stage by occasional collaborator Keef Baker (in more of a Nimon-esque guise) on ambient guitar.  The duo only practiced once this weekend before the show and were on amazing form. Covering a few bases of his musical career we were treated to elements from Michael Morton’s new ‘Curse of the Black Vinyl’ opus alongside touches of ‘The Witching Hour’ and ‘Foundation’ amongst others. The upbeat pace, alongside mellow yet intricate electronics massaged the senses for many of the listeners; and appeared to be just the tonic they needed on a Sunday evening. Coupled with an excellent sound and appropriately complex lighting, there was nothing more anyone could have asked for.

Then onto Leæther Strip; yet again another act I can’t quite believe haven’t graced the stage at Infest before. Blasting through a whole host of classics such as ‘Fit For Flogging’ and ‘Civil Disobedience’ tearing the audience up in fine fashion, this is the nostalgic side of Industrial electronics that have learned to stay relevant and with purpose. You know what you are getting with Claus Larsen’s baby and he has never failed to impress when I have seen him live, with his no bullshit approach to commanding the stage. Amazing people too.

Now, I am all for bands getting the acclaim they deserve. However, co-headlining or not; selling a lot of one album and playing with some large bands out of the scene does not warrant a band such as 3TEETH closing the show above Leæther Strip in my opinion. Some may disagree, but it just feels a tad disrespectful in my book. I guess it may be what the kids wanted, but I can’t get my head around it. Either way I went to give them a chance; and not withstanding rumours of just how ‘live’ they actually are aside, they gave a solid account of themselves, from the excellent ‘Nihil’ right through to ‘Master of Decay’. When their debut came out, I really enjoyed it, as I hadn’t heard anyone take this approach in a while; but it did burn out rather quickly in the listening stakes (even if it is a good album). This inevitably led me to not being as energised or enthused by their set as I possibly should have been. Good show nonetheless.

Band of the day: Displacer (followed close second by Leæther Strip).

So, another year, another Infest and another amazing weekend that is worth shelling out for and travelling to if you haven’t before. It’s a great place to catch up with old friends and share an experience and create memories together, regardless of musical preferences. My thanks go out to the promoters, volunteers and bands that go out of their way to make this event special, each and every year.  Long may it continue.

Yes, I took just two pictures (both of Displacer).

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