Festival Review: Infest 2015

Infest is our the most loved dark electronic music festival in the UK. The charm of it lies in its variety: it is deliciously eclectic. And that’s the thing about Infest: you just cannot nail down what exactly you going to experience. This is kind of unpredictable, but always promising and exciting. The only thing I missed was more diversity, but that’s the problem of the whole scene and system, not the festival itself.

Ctrl Alt Del got the honour to open Infest this year and they did not disappoint. I just wanted to take all the possible time and really sink deep into their sounds. I wanted to feel music in my bones. I was entertained and disturbed in a very pleasant way. Some of the songs I didn’t have super strong feelings about, but there were others I loved and it balanced it out. After all not all songs affect everyone the same…
D-K-A-G’s performance wasn’t a stand out to me, although I quite enjoyed the last two songs. It was an interesting concept, but not something that was particularly appealing to my taste. It’s not that Cocksure was bad. It wasn’t. But it is that they also weren’t particularly good either. I just wasn’t blown away by much of anything in their performance.
The only word that comes to mind to bind the performance of Empirion is “fantastic”. The music was stupendous and the sounds flew nicely. It wasn’t too slow nor too fast and the way band interacted with audience was such brilliant. Still I wasn’t left wanting more even though I wouldn’t have minded a bit longer set.

The first band taking the stage on Saturday was AlterRed that caught everyone’s breath. They had this unique style that drew you into songs, then quickly turned everything you know upside down and inside out.The sounds wended their way through the audience and aside from the occasional chill, the mood was quite positive.
Ethan Fawkes performance was extremely powerful. The music didn’t punch it out of you with the brutally grotesque, nor did it tried to scare you to the point of numbness. But still it had this touch of the grotesque and intensity. Memories of this performance didn’t stay with me long, but it was still definitely a pleasure to see Ethan live.
Next band was a drum project called CHANT. Seeing a drummer take the front of the stage was so refreshing and inspiring! As soon as I started perusing through the vivacious sounds of that delightful act, I felt like they were getting more and more effective with their magical sound spell that they have casted which at times felt like a precision instrument probing at the areas of my imagination that are better left untapped. It was a pleasantly exhausting experience that kept me amused me to no end of their performance. Following CHANT’s spectacular show I made a conscious decision to skip L’Âme Immortelle’s performance due Thomas Rainer’s involvement in the project. Giving any attention to that controversial person seemed way too much, and it made me feel much better knowing that some other visitors felt the same way…
Klangstabil‘s performance was absolutely fabulous. I don’t really know how they did it because the way they performed every song was enough to build the world and immerse you in it while having such intense beats.
The headliners of the day – Mind.in.a.box actually blowed my minds away. . Beautifully talented musicians and absolute bastards for getting into my head and rooting about. Right from the start I got the chills and this was just the first song! I know I’m loving any piece of work because it just shuts my brain and sneaks in. I feel tingles and getting so emotional. So when the first tunes of mind.in.a.box started, they hit like a whirlpool: strong and unexpected. Looking back the choice of songs seems quite odd, but it felt so right at that particular moment. And it worked! The audience were loving it, and so did I.

Sunday afternoon started with Mechanical Cabaret. It was one of those bands I actually have never heard before, and I didn’t enjoy their performance as much as I should have. It’s not that I didn’t like it, actually quite the opposite – I loved it enormously. Just kept distracting myself with the thought, why the hell haven’t I hear them before?..They were weirdly wonderful, a little surreal, delightfully filling venue with the mixture of industrial and old school electronics. I enjoyed the way music floated, the way the melody sucked you right into the songs. So much that you would willingly dive deeper into the ocean of those sounds, even if you feared you might not make it up for air. I would gladly drown to keep on experiencing it again and again.
One of the things I really liked about the next act reADJUST was that I could depend on them to give me just the right amount of chills and energy in equal measure, and it was nice. Overall I found BhamBhamHara‘s show very exciting. They seemed to be able to realize the wishes of the audience by transforming what seemed like every experience they ever had and every notion that crosses their interior crawl into deep sounds. There were so many wonderful aspects during their performance. Songs were utterly breathtaking and captivating. So, I was a bit saddened when their show ended.
It took me a while to get into Syrian, but once I did it was a lot of fun. Their performance was interesting and catchy. What I really liked about them was their ability to intrigue, create the atmosphere and otherwise heighten audience’s dark imaginings without being predictable or pushy. Their choice of songs left me wanting to hear more.
Monolith’s nice and striking, but nothing too special (or was it just me being too excited to finally see Project Pitchfork again?).
Project Pitchfork’s performance in their entirety was a searing, uninhibited sensual experience. The sounds filled the venue with unbridled energy and elusive flowing mystic but the more you tried to hold onto that in each song, the more frustrated and unsatisfied you would get. But that was the appeal of their performance, for sure. Not only did they captured the essence of the day perfectly, but they did so with the trickiness and charming electronic sounds that seemed to be uniquely in the realm of Project Pitchfork.

Going to Infest felt like coming back home. Home where you dive into the music and live here entire weekend, before coming back to the cruel reality. Now can’t wait to see what Infest will offer for the next year!

P.S. there is something else I wanted to mention. Firstly, I want to say a huge thank you to wonderful Infest team not only for putting so much effort organising the festival and making sure everything runs smoothly, but as well for answering my questions about bathrooms before the festival even started. What is the big deal with bathrooms you may ask? But if you have gender dystrophia and/or don’t fit into the binary system going to the bathroom can be (and many times is!) a huge challenge. You are forced to choose between two options those are not always valid… So, I’m extremely happy that venue had gender neutral bathrooms, yay for that!

Review and photo by Milda Bandzaitė
Here you can see more pictures in the gallery