Infest 2016:
Atari Teenage Riot/Leaether Strip/Pop Will Eat Itself/3Teeth/Velvet Acid Christ/Dead When I Found Her/Grausame Toechter/Displacer/Monica Jeffries/Rroyce/Vigilante/Me The Tiger/Hysteresis/Massive Ego/Tapewyrm/Johnny Normal

Bradford University, West Yorkshire - 26-28 August 2016

"An eclectic year even by Infest's usual eclectic standards"

[Infest 2016 banner]

On the morning before heading up to Bradford for the eighteenth incarnation of Infest, I posted on Facebook saying I was about to embark on what I referred to as the 'annual pilgrimage' to West Yorkshire. But it isn't blind faith that guides me.

In truth, I've only ever attended Infest based purely on the lineup. Having said that, I have attended 14* out of the 18 to date. So the overlap has had an impressive hit rate so far.

Rather than announce the lineup either in its entirety, or in a couple of major chunky updates, the Infest team start early in the year, steadily drip feeding the band names, one by one, each week on social media and via their email newsletter. As tantalising as this is, I know for some it makes committing to the festival early on a challenge. If you grab your (discounted) ticket by booking early you run the slight risk that the final lineup doesn't quite do it for you. But such is the draw of Infest and its legion of faithful and passionate followers, that is precisely what many do. (£60 for the entire weekend for 16 bands is darn good value in anyone's book.)

For others, me included, it's a case of watching the announcements to see when the list of confirmed names reaches that tipping point when you know it is worth the investment of time and money. This year, I was wavering until quite late. It wasn't until both Leaether Strip and Velvet Acid Christ were announced that the deal was sealed for me.

Day 1: Friday 26th

Out of Line label act Massive Ego were an excellent choice to open Infest 2016. Their melodic dark synthwave sound is slap bang in the middle of the Infest genre spectrum, and they put on a visually arresting show. Everything from the projected visuals to founder and front man Marc Massive's striking appearance (think Mickey Mouse as styled by Dolce & Gabbana) make Massive Ego worth adding to your 'check em out list' if you've not yet seen them.

They topped and tailed their thirty minute set with two of their strongest songs, starting with Low Life and ending on their successful single I Idolize You. I know from chatting with fellow Infesters that this was the first live sampling of the band for many and they will have undoubtedly earned more followers as a result.

Massive Ego setlist: Low Life, Drag Me In Drag Me Under, Coldest Light Of Day, Let Go, Eighth Day, Dead Silence Rising, I Idolize You

Swedish three piece Me The Tiger are most easily categorised as electropop but that narrow label doesn't do their complex sound justice. Of all the acts this year new to me (of which there were many) Me The Tiger were one that instantly grabbed me in the run up to this weekend with their promos on YouTube. Having now seen them live, the pre-festival sampling I had turned out to be a good representation of the eclectic influences at work in their songwriting. (Their well-chosen cover version of Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time though was absent from tonight's set.)

On stage they were more animated and edgy than anticipated. Largely thanks to guitarist Tobias Andersson who was aggressively leaping, jumping, and diving around the stage. His musical contribution an example of what helps set this band apart. Gabriella Astrom provides the vocals up front and there's a distinctly Swedish accented tone to her voice that's light as a wisp when she wants it to be, but can belt out a chorus if required. A youthful-looking Jonas Martinsson on drums completes the band.

Incorporating various alternative styles into their sound, they manage to carve out their own, rather than coming across like some incoherent bunch of disparate elements. Interesting that their approach appealed to a lot of people whose personal tastes varied quite widely. Everyone I spoke with afterwards heaped praise on the band. Me The Tiger were the first most talked-about act of the 2016 lineup.

Me The Tiger setlist: Dreams, Pocket Sized Edition Ending, Myheroine, Slottet, Headlines, What Promises Are Worth, Ariana, As We Really Are, All We Had 

[Massive Ego photo]    [Me The Tiger photo]    [Dead When I Found Her photo]

Photos [L-R]: Massive Ego, Me The Tiger, Dead When I Found Her

Starting the set with The Unclean was a brave way for Michael Arthur Holloway from Portland, Oregon, aka Dead When I Found Her, to raise the curtain on his UK debut. Opening with a sample from John Carpenter's The Fog it sounds like solid enough ground but the remainder of the barely-over-two-minutes track is an unconventional exercise in audio cut-up, wildly variable tempos and stop/start breaks. It was a bold way to get people's attention and to challenge any preconceptions there may have been out there.

However, no sooner did the distinctly Front Line Assembly Better Days kick off than Holloway and his assistant rapidly calm any faltering nerves. Interesting then that having got everyone moving they followed that with the moody Expiring Time, the slowest song of their set. Perhaps sensing the Infest crowd were expecting a set of back to back higher BPM tracks, Holloway said at the end "Thank you, that was a slow one" before picking up his guitar for Fixer Fixed. Openly acknowledging inspiration as coming from electro-industrial acts from the late 80s and early 90s, since starting in 2010 there have been three albums to date (all on Artoffact) and tonight's set drew on all three.

Their 45minute set flew past and rounded out a rock solid start to the festival. In chats afterwards, the names Skinny Puppy and Front Line Assembly cropped up more than once. This was clearly a very good thing. And so were Dead When I Found Her.

Dead When I Found Her setlist: The Unclean, Better Days, Expiring Time, Fixer Fixed, New Drugs, The Proof, Rain Machine, Tantrum, Spitting Seeds

Nailing the 'old favourites' slot this year, Pop Will Eat Itself headlined day one. Personally, the choice seemed a little like stretching the scope of Infest's remit a bit too far, but I know the organisers would disagree. And I hold up my hand - because I was wrong. The Poppies (as they are affectionately known) are not exactly the same band they were back in their late 80s heydays.

I'd heard that there was only one original member remaining. Even PWEI currently refer to themselves as PWEI 'V2.0' to avoid any confusion and manage expectations, but on stage tonight one of them pointed out that (early to mid 90s) drummer Fuzz Townshend was back with them, so they were technically closer to the original line up than in the recent past.

(Founder member Clint Mansell left the band back in 1996, carving out a successful new career as a significant film soundtrack composer . These include an unforgettably schizophrenic score to Darren Aronofsky's harrowing and brilliant Requiem For A Dream (and more recently: The Wrestler, Moon and Black Swan). Personally, I'd have been happier if it was Mansell on stage.)

Joking that they were now PWEI "Version four and a half", whatever the intricacies of the members, there was no denying that a) their name had drawn a large number of fans, and b) even if you were only partial to some of their stuff, or not even a fan, then the show they gave here delivered the goods. And this in spite of them somehow forgetting to pack a megaphone - the trademark of some of their biggest hits. Once this equipment oversight was discovered one of the Infest Crew was tasked with running into Bradford city centre to procure one. Which they did just in time for when PWEI took to the stage.

Like most casual listeners, I only know a couple of their hits, with Beaver Patrol being the only one I'd be able to give you a half-remembered rendition of, so my interest was limited. (Curiously, Beaver Patrol didn't make the setlist tonight.) It was a rollicking show, there being something of a guilty pleasure in seeing a couple of middle-aged white guys prowling around the stage with only mics doing their rap thing - and pulling it off fairly convincingly. After all, back in the day PWEI did support Run DMC and Public Enemy. Although I remained largely unconverted, I did have a smile on my face throughout, and the reception they got, in part from the decent number of fans here, confirmed their booking was a popular choice.

Pop Will Eat Itself setlist: The Incredible P.W.E.I. vs The Moral Majority, Preaching To the Perverted, Dance of the Mad Bastards, Everything's Cool, Wise Up! Sucker, Nosebleeder Turbo TV, Director's Cut, R.S.V.P., Chaos & Mayhem, OldSkool Cool, Watch The Bitch Blow, They Can't Take (What You Won't Let 'Em Have), Ich Bin Ein Auslander, Get the Girl! Kill The Baddies!, Their Law, Can U Dig It, Def.Con.One

[Pop Will Eat Itself photo]    [Tapewyrm photo]
   [Monica Jeffries photo]

Photos [L-R]: Pop Will Eat Itself, Tapewyrm, Monica Jeffries

Day 2: Saturday 27th

A nod here to DJ Inappropriate Affect, the first DJ of the weekend that really caught my attention. His set directly before Tapewyrm was all instrumental and suitably atmospheric - setting us up nicely for what followed.

The six band lineup on the Saturday always starts around four in the afternoon and getting that ball rolling this year was Tapewyrm - the performance name of Michael Drayven, a one-man noise project from the UK. That's a pretty rare thing so it was good to see and hear the noisier side of this year's Infest represented by a local. All five songs in the set came from his latest album Triptych.

This was pretty heavy but there was enough in there to make at it classifiable as rhythmic noise - for me the most rewarding seam of the noise genre. All instrumental, the tracks were surprisingly minimal in nature. They were also very bass synth/percussion loop driven and repetitive, making me think at times like I was almost listening to Krautrock noise for the first time. A not unpleasant experience. It was impressive just how much of an enveloping sound Drayven manage to create from so few elements. Clever stuff.

Tapewyrm setlist: Nemesis, Hierophant, Empurata, Martyr, Ascension

Monica Jeffries hails from Poland. Aided on stage by a synth player and bassist, her brand of romantic Gothic synth rock was another smart selection by the festival organisers. (Slightly random I know, but her appearance made me think of a youthful, very svelte Helen Mirren!)

It must be difficult pulling together a shortlist of potential acts every year, but Infest always manages to incorporate new or rising names that (in the UK at least) are little known, and yet are well placed to win over new followers. If such an act appears on stage at Infest then they've had the best opportunity to broaden their fan base in the UK, bar none. So, best they don't blow it.

A friend showed me he'd purchased Jeffries' latest (second) album Into Temptation directly after seeing her on stage, perfectly demonstrating that principle. This was Jeffries' UK debut and the combination of her distinctive voice and moody, mid-tempo style worked well, ensuring she held a good sized audience captive for the duration of her set. A special mention too for the striking black and white abstract imagery projected throughout.

Monica Jeffries setlist: Intro, Window Of Hope, New Moon Rising, In Circles, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Road Ahead (Hybrid Version), No More, Old Demons, Waiting for Godot (Moonlight Version)

Hysteresis were another act that came at me out of nowhere. Although they actually came from Belgium.
Hysteresis can be found on the German Hands label - a steady supplier of acts to Infest down the years and some of my greatest discoveries here. [Note to self: need to do more homework on the artists on Hands I'm not already familiar with.]

This was another UK debut and delivered just the sort of thing I come to Infest to get an education on. Their eclectic style is almost anti-genre. Deliberately drawing on a wide range of musical genres including drum and bass, electro, IDM, dark techno, and breakbeat, whilst remaining grounded in industrial, they drop in mystical sitars, ethnic chanting, elements of world music and b-movie samples just to ensure you can never really pin them down.

L'ouvrier meprise et suspecte reminded me a little of Isle of Man by Ministry - when they fleetingly did the heavy electronics bit so convincingly on TwitchThere was a cover of The Sound of The Big Baboo by Laurent Garnier, and one highlight was the banging Calculus. Most unexpected musical moment of the weekend had to be set closer Shiver, which miraculously incorporates the unmistakable melody from (a pre-dad's band) Status Quo's Pictures Of Matchstick Men, that surely deserves some kind of special award for ingenuity. Sublime.

Hysteresis setlist: Hellish Gospels, Gramsci in the Caribbean, L'ouvrier meprise et suspecte,
Calculus, Hersenreiniging, The Sound of the Big Baboo [L. Garnier cover], Analogik, Coercion & Consent, Shiver

The show put on by Grausame Toechter created one of the biggest talking points. Debates raged about their presentation which, on the one hand, was seen as a bold feminist power game in which scantily, fetish gear-clad women had the audience eating out of their hands (even if only in terms of capturing everyone's attention). Whilst on the other hand, it was seen simply perhaps by some as a chance for lecherous men to gawk at naked women - oblivious to (or couldn't give a damn for) any greater message.

The truth of Grausame Toechter perhaps lies somewhere in between. I'm all up for artists making an effort to put on a show, but get slightly skeptical when it becomes the main talking point instead of the music. Which was fine, if unremarkable. The lead singer did eventually get completely naked by the end of their set and apparently pissed on the stage. All of which was of minor interest to me as I'd wandered off mid-set, returning only for the last couple of numbers.

[Hysteresis photo]    [Grausame Tochter photo]    [Velvet Acid Christ photo]

Photos [L-R]: Hysteresis,
Grausame Toechter, Velvet Acid Christ

I've long been a fan of Bryan Erickson's Velvet Acid Christ project. For more than twenty years he's carved out a niche that is his and his alone. I'd never wish hardship on anyone, but it's largely on account of Erickson channeling his sometimes troubled life (drug dependency, depression, poverty) that he somehow manages to transform all that depressing negativity into thrilling songwriting. The results may inevitably be dark in terms of subject matter, but with a tendency to utilise electro-industrial and trance as the delivery styles, he has created some stunning compositions down the years.

Known for his casual, rambling chatting between songs, there wasn't much of that tonight. Perhaps Erickson's is getting the better of his personal demons, perhaps he just wanted to get on with the music. Having traveled from his home in Colorado in the US, I believe his three-piece backing band (two sets of synths and a drummer) were assembled from local talent. VAC has always been a solo project that recruits assistance as and when required, particularly for touring, so this wasn't anything unusual and not a shortcoming.

When he wasn't playing some of his own unforgettable hooklines, or getting on the floor to tweak the effects his voice was going through, Erickson did his usual prowling around the stage, microphone held tightly between both hands. Less fraught that it used to be, he still looks like a man possessed at times. The set included a good selection of classics as well as newer material I'm less familiar with. Some of the older songs seem to have improved with age. He opened with Pretty Toy, which when it came out I wasn't exactly blown away by, but here it provided the perfect start to the set.

Hearing more recent material like Evoked, Bend The Sky and Septic Rinse, all from the album Maldire, reminded me I still need to fill in some gaps in my VAC album collection. And few can use extended film and TV samples to such thrilling effect. The Borg from Star Trek Next Generation on Futile and especially the Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas ones in Fun With Drugs got instant roars of approval.

Whilst this performance was largely free of the angst and trauma that drove (and at times almost killed) Erickson in the past, it never lacked impact. His writing is very personal and openly emotional, often exploring issues he's desperately passionate about, requiring full commitment when performed live. It isn't possible to deliver these songs half-heartedly. So whilst to newcomers he may lack the polish or swagger of some of his scene peers' stage personas, few can match him for his honest, unfiltered delivery. Erickson remains one of those rarities in music these days. A genuinely unique individual, whose only concern is to remain true to himself and his writing, and fuck everyone else. Glorious stuff.

Velvet Acid Christ setlist: Pretty Toy, Malfunction, Futile, Fun With Drugs, Evoked, Vaporised, Bend The Sky, Phucking Phreak, Septic Rinse, Dial 8, Icon, Dilaudid 

Alec Empire's Atari Teenage Riot have managed to stand the test of time. Back in the day (like decades ago) my wife was the bigger fan than I, but that meant I have seen ATR/Empire a few times down those decades. Once or twice the impact has been remarkable. At one of those gigs, at The Garage in London in 2001, I first caught support act Zan Lyons. As much as the Alec Empire show that night was probably the best one I've been to, it was Lyons that caught me by surprise and I've been a fan since. No coincidence then that tonight's ATR lineup included Lyons on stage where he was responsible for manipulating most of the music. Lyons posted on Facebook in the run up to the festival that he was providing the visuals for the show. No mention that he'd also be on stage, so it was good seeing him there.

Empire is good at creating an air of myth about himself, in part it seems by deliberately being 'difficult' or, at least, demanding. Examples of that were apparent at Infest. When the annual commemorative festival T-Shirt was announced by the organisers, it was pointed out that the ATR logo couldn't appear on the design as permission wasn't granted for its use on merchandise. Also, and from an admittedly slightly selfish perspective, it was made clear, in no uncertain terms, that Empire would not allow the usual press photography (not even for the first three songs as is standard) during the ATR set.

Who knows what the reason behind these prohibitions was? Perhaps there was some contractual wrangling happening behind the scenes that meant Empire couldn't agree to these things even if he had wanted to. Personally, I suspect it was more to cultivate and propagate the Alec Empire myth.

Whilst this was a minor inconvenience, it was kinda daft. Although there were clearly two photographers in the pit during the ATR performance (I'm guessing one the official Infest photographer and one personally approved by Empire to capture the performance for posterity). So, whilst that meant that no other professional photographers were able to record the show in their usual impressive manner, it didn't stop the hundreds of festival goers, some right in front of the barrier at the foot of the stage, recording the show on their phones. So we have shoddy video footage of questionable quality and a smattering of fan shots taken from the midst of the mosh pit. Still, I guess that's all entirely in keeping with Empire's contrary persona.

Musically, it was pretty much the least captivating ATR show I've seen. All the edge has gone from the delivery (even though Empire doesn't appear to have physically aged in about 20 years!). Repeatedly shouting "Make some fucking noise!" between songs may have all been part of the act, but it came across as being provocative for provocatives sake and a touch lazy. Instead of working his arse off to earn the roar of the crowd, he simply demanded it. As soon as I get a whiff that what's happening on stage isn't artistically genuine then you lose my interest. But, (again) the majority of the crowd appeared to view things differently, faithfully punching the air when instructed to do so by Empire, and they seemed to enjoy doing so.

[Johnny Normal Photo]    [Vigilante Photo]    [Rroyce photo]

Photos [L-R]: Johnny Normal, Vigilante, Rroyce

Day 3: Sunday 28th

People often say that Johnny Normal sounds like Gary Numan - which I disagree with. Whilst it is apparent that Numan (among other 80s synth acts) is clearly an inspiration, Normal's style is more eclectic, drawing on a variety of genres. So I never hear a Johnny Normal song and think that sounds like Numan. More that you can tell where the influences lie. Stylistically, Normal pulls together a diverse set of musical influences, and mashes it up into what he describes as post-punk, electronic rock-pop. Consequently, the results can be a bit hit and miss.

Explicitly acknowledging his influences, Normal has just released a tribute to Adam and The Ants' Kings of The Wild Frontier by covering the entire album. Aside from approaching the album by arranging the songs primarily for synths, another distinguishing factor here is that original Ants member Marco Pirroni worked with Normal on the album, contributing guitar elements. So, it came as no surprise that today's set included three Ants songs, opening with Ants Invasion, with Killer In The Home popping up mid-set and closing on a frantic Antmusic. Prior to the festival, I wasn't sure how closely the Johnny Normal sound would align with the Infest crowd, but he went down well.

Johnny Normal setlist: Ants Invasion [Ants cover], Remember Me, Alive, The London Sound, Killer in the Home [Ants cover], Miss Razorblade, Don't Blow It, Robot Rock, Antmusic [Ants cover]

Vigilante is one Ivan Munoz from Chile. According to the pre-fest hype, we could expect: "A raging electronic power station with bright alleys, dark corners, twisted corridors... delivering a heavy electronic punch in your face!" He calls it 'Industep' (a mix of industrial and dubstep). As awkward as that sounds, it's an accurate steer. I've always been relaxed about the blending of the two styles. I know other industrial music fans think the combination close to sacrilege. What we got certainly lived up to the description, although there was more metal guitar than I was expecting.

Probably still suffering from the Saturday night/Sunday morning hangover, it's fair to say that the crowd were initially a little subdued - it was only 5pm after all. That may have been so, but
Munoz wasn't going to accept that. He hadn't come all this way to get a half-awake reception. He wanted to hear them. After the intro of Crossroads, We Are One was the perfect song to wake everyone up proper and get them into gear for what followed. The grinding metal guitar that peppers his writing helped. But just to be sure no-one was napping on their feet, Munoz took it upon himself to jump off the stage, climb over the barrier and head out into the audience during Illumination, waving the mic around, getting them to join in the chorus. By the time we got into the Die Krupps-like Kosmos it was fair to say the last remnants of any lethargy had been well and truly blown away.

Vigilante setlist: Crossroads (intro), We Are One, Illumination, Kosmos, Into The War, Under The Sun, Turning Point, It's Our Time, Fire, The New Resistance

Rroyce describe their sound as "Wave-Electro-Synth-Pop updated for the modern era". I'm happy to confess a partial weakness for such things. There's no shortage of bands doing it, several convincingly well, many of whom have appeared at Infest down the years. So, Rroyce's inclusion in the 2016 running order seemed like solid booking.

Annoyingly, I missed the start of their set. I was deep in conversation away from the stage. It was only when I noticed lots of clapping that I realised the music wasn't coming from one of the DJs! Although I had a photo pass, meaning I could have taken up a position in the photo pit at the foot of the stage, I didn't know how many songs Rroyce were into their set so opted to watch from the other side of the barrier.

Turns out the clapping was for their first song, so I hadn't missed much. With the release of their second album Karoshi imminent their appearance at Infest was part of a promotional tour that sees them playing dates through to December. So, we got to hear three new album tracks including The Principle of Grace, Who Needs and I Like It When You Lie.

For some reason, I thought Rroyce had been around a lot longer than they have (their first album came out only in 2014). Their sound faces a lot of competition (not least from their German countrymen), where a seemingly never-ending and abundant supply of synthpop acts acts have championed the genre since the end of the 80s. More familiarity with their material might have helped me set Rroyce apart from their competitors. Lead singer Casi Kriegler won the crowd over with his slightly tongue-in-cheek sense of humour, e.g. at the end of Who Needs giving the devilish sign of the horns and shouting "Synth-pop and roll!".

Rroyce setlist: Over and Over, The Principle of Grace, Who Needs, Hide Behind, Thank You I'm Scared, Bohemian Life, Run Run Run, 1234, I Like It When You Lie, Malacoda

[Displacer photo]       [Leaether Strip photo]         [3Teeth photo]

Photos [L-R]: Displacer, Leaether Strip, 3Teeth

I was so busy in the run up to this year's festival, consequently doing little of the pre-fest research I usually do. There are pros and cons to this. The cons being you're unable to plan your weekend around the 'must-see' and 'no loss' acts - handy when there are 16 bands. The pros being you (well I at least) need to get down the front for every single band on the punt that anyone of them could turn out to be your best new favourite band. Canadian Michael Morton, aka Displacer, fulfilled that opportunity for me this year. That he's got to releasing 11 albums since 2003 (several on three labels I know reasonably well - M-Tronic, Tympanik and Hymen), none of which has previously come to my attention is as baffling as it is enticing.

Assisted on stage tonight by UK scene stalwart Keef Baker on guitar, this was a revelation, exhilarating from start to finish. First big tick was that this turned out to be 45 minutes of pure instrumental music - something I'm always desperate to hear live (and you rarely get on the scene outside of the hardcore noise bracket).

Whilst this was dark it wasn't brutal, it was melodic, varied and captivating.
This was more IDM than anything else - a genre that has provided me with some of the most rewarding electronic music I've ever heard. Someone familiar with the project told me the set we were witness to today was on the 'lighter' side of Displacer's repertoire. Whatever the truth of it, I will definitely be investigating Morton's extensive back catalogue in fine detail. Personal discovery of this year's festival for me.

Displacer setlist: Phantom Limb, Awakening, Freefall, Unbreakable, Spare Parts, The Witching Hour, Cage Fighter's Lullaby, Totality, Gravitational

Amazing to think that despite having been going for 18 years, this was the first time that Danish EBM legend Leaether Strip appeared at Infest. There's much to like about Claus Larsen's take on the genre. He never feels the need to slavishly restrict himself to a very narrow interpretation of the genre, and yet he never strays very far from it. This enables him to frequently indulge in his passion for covering songs by other artists he admires, and tonight's set was no exception. We got Black Leather by The Klinik and Sex Dwarf by Soft Cell - introduced by Larsen as his favourite band of all time.

This was only my second time seeing Leaether Strip, which given how long I've been into EBM (essentially since Front 242 pioneered it back in the 80s), seems almost unfeasible. Even more surprising to me was how many others said this was their first time seeing them live. They tour regularly so it's not like we've been short of opportunities. On the global scene, Leaether Strip are justifiably recognised as one of the leading (and longest running) EBM acts. It's a reputation well earned. For me, they were one of the two main names on this year's bill that clinched the deal for me attending (the other being Velvet Acid Christ). There was a tangible buzz about their appearance this year and (although it is unclear just how much of the music is actually being performed live) they didn't disappoint.

In spite of the growling vocal delivery and frequently dark subject matter, it's also apparent just what a decent human being Larsen is. Anyone following him online will know he's an engaging artist - happy to chat with fans about the merits (or otherwise) of the scene, its music, its labels and other artists. This is somewhat in contrast to his on-stage delivery. Whilst he doesn't quite inhabit an entirely different stage persona, the performing version of Claus Larsen makes you believe in the content of the songs and his delivery is as passionate as any out there.

Leaether Strip setlist: Don't Tame Your Soul, Civil Disobedience, Kiss My Deutschland, Crash Flight 232, Fit For Flogging, Torment Me, Strap Me Down, I Am Your Conscience, Japanese Bodies, Black Leather [The Klinik cover], Desert Storm, Antius, Body Machine Body, Sex Dwarf [Soft Cell cover]

US industrial crossover rockers 3Teeth have risen from no-where in just three short years. Not long ago you could have caught them in a pub or club, along with 30-40 other like-minded individuals. Thanks to some musical skillz and a canny press agent, and securing a plum support slot on the recent Tool tour has cemented their rapid rise. That and being written about in such mass market publications such as Rolling Stone and Billboard has rocketed them to head of the scene. So much so that as they secured top billing on day three, they were effectively this year's festival headliners (even though it was Atari Teenage Riot's logo that got the prime spot on the festival promotional artwork).

Friends have raved about 3Teeth, so never having seen them before I was interested to see just how impacting they'd be. First impressions were promising. The lead singer sporting a slightly cyberpunk dandy look with handlebar mustache and Victorian-style round sunglasses topped off with a quality haircut. I was in the photo pit for the first three songs, but once they were done (and we were turfed out) I didn't hang around for their entire 75min set.

Don't get me wrong, they're great at what they do, but what they do has been done so many time before. Fans will disagree, arguing no doubt that 3Teeth bring their own take on a familiar genre and give it a contemporary edge. Whilst that may be true to a degree, as someone who saw and heard the emergence of the entire industrial rock crossover genre decades ago, I couldn't discern enough originality here to hold my attention. Still, I've attended enough gigs in my life to realise that judging a band purely on their live sound is unwise. So, I will check out 3Teeth's recorded output before coming to a firm conclusion either way.

I did pop back to catch the last couple of songs in their set just to see if there was anything more engaging in there but it wasn't apparent to me. Still, as often happens at Infest, I was clearly in the minority. They had, and held, a big audience throughout their set and there's no denying that they are perfect Infest material and closed this year's proceedings in an appropriately ballsy and undeniably cool fashion.

3Teeth setlist: NIHIL, X-Day, Zeit, Final Product, Dust, Slavegod, Insubstantia, Chasm, <shutdown.exe> ,Sell Your Face, Atrophy, Pearls 2 Swine, Dissolve, Master of Decay, Encore: Eradicate

Infest 2016 was an eclectic lineup - even by Infest's already pretty eclectic standards.

The best aspect of it was hearing two terrific sets from two legends in Leaether Strip and Velvet Acid Christ, and discovering several newer acts like Me The Tiger, Hysterisis, Displacer and Dead When I Found Her. The four biggest names: Atari Teenage Riot, Leaether Strip, Pop Will Eat Itself, 3Teeth could each headline smaller events aimed at entirely different audiences. And that's one of the powers of Infest - both its programmers, and its audience, are up for bringing together, under one roof, the diversity of the global electronic/alternative scene. We're an eclectic and open-minded bunch really, aren't we? 8/10                                                                                                                   

Review: Rob Dyer
Photos: (C) AIWS @

Official Infest website:

See also:
Infest 2015
Infest 2014
Infest 2013
Infest 2012
Infest 2010
Infest 2008
Infest 2007
Infest 2006
Infest 2003
Infest 2001
InFest 2000
InFest '99
InFest '98