Yesterday morning, as we usually do on the Saturday of a weekend away, Geth and I got up early and went parkrun touristing. As I mentioned yesterday, we’d saved up plenty of sleep and got a relatively early night so it wasn’t too painful!
After we got back, Geth went to meet Matt and John for curry, and I had a nice relaxed couple of hours with music in the hotel room. A can of cider and some room service pizza later, I was able to get ready for day 3, which was the first full-length day of the festival, with bands starting at 4pm.
When we arrived at the venue, I went straight to the stage to catch the end of the first band of the day.
Band 9: Flesh Eating Foundation
I wasn’t expecting much, but this was quite a show. There were four dudes on stage, but only one of them was actually playing an instrument. The band’s look involved lots of neckties, plus one guy rocking the eldergoth grey ponytail look, and of the three who weren’t playing instruments, one guy’s job seemed to be to hold up lots of signs that were vaguely related to the lyrics of the songs. Music-wise, when I walked in they were doing a song with the repeated refrain ‘are you having fun, boys and girls?’ sung in the most ominous way ever. They followed that with So Yeah, which I recognised from the first Beat:Cancer compilation, and finished with another song that involved a lot of sign-holding.
I had a brief sit down in the bar and a quick chat with friends before we all headed to see the next band.
Band 10: Adam Is A Girl
Adam Is A Girl do a lot of slow chillout synthpop, which is more Geth’s thing than mine, but the tunes were really nice – it was a great set to zone out to. It did get more upbeat as it went on, so I was able to have a good dance towards the end. Definitely a band to add to the playlist.
We headed back to the sports bar to catch up with people again, but unfortunately at that point some inconsiderate person persuaded the bar staff to turn off the nice background chillout music and put the football on (seriously, pal, just watch it on your phone – don’t spoil everyone else’s festival atmosphere). It was fairly unbearable, so Geth and I wandered through to check out the shopping area. I’m a bit done with clothes shopping at the moment as I’ve bought a LOT of clothes in 2018 due to my weight loss, so I wasn’t really interested in any of the clothes racks – they’re the same every year, and I got an Infest 2018 t-shirt on Thursday that will do me fine as a souvenir – ditto jewellery. The one thing that did catch my eye was a vinyl copy of And One’s Bodypop that they were selling on the Beat:Cancer stall, but I should probably wait until we actually have a record player before starting that particular collection!
In order to avoid the football, we settled down in the seats opposite the merch stall. I nipped in to see the next band…
Band 11: Yura Yura
…but it was just a solitary boring-looking guy standing behind a laptop, nothing interesting to see on stage at all, and the track he was playing at the time sounded exactly like a cement mixer. I went back to sit with Geth in the merch area, from where we could hear the rest of the set anyway. The cement mixer track seemed to go on forever, but at least it was better than listening to the football.
We joined friends again before going to see the next band.
Band 12: Actors
It was great to hear some post-punk at Infest! Actors are a Canadian three-piece with some nice stage energy. The tunes were very nice, but I could have done with some more memorable hooks. Still, I’ll definitely be adding them to my playlist, so I expect I’ll grow to like the songs more as I become more familiar with them.
Another in-between band bit that followed the ‘sports bar, drink, chat to friends’ pattern!
Band 13: Liebknecht
I popped in briefly to see this project. Repetitive beats, lots of wub, lots of dull slowed-down vocal samples. Visually, it was a cross between Iszoloscope’s purple haze and Yura Yura’s boring, but there was at least some head-nodding happening on the stage.
We had a good catchup with old friend Teresa in the bar, before the highlight of the evening.
Band 14: Mesh
We all trooped in to see Mesh, along with most of Infest – it was a pretty packed show again. Luckily, this time we headed in a good while before they started, so we were able to get quite a good spot. They did a great festival set with lots of classics, and as we were quite close to the front, I broke my rule about gig pictures:
For the traditional fan picture montage for Friends Like These, Infest had asked for submissions of pictures from past festivals through the years. I’d submitted a few pictures and was thrilled to see them all featured. I took a very blurry video of the montage, but you can’t really make anything out (how I love my crappy phone camera), so instead here are the actual photos that I managed to get into the montage:
Other high points of the performance were Little Missile, which they’d apparently played when they were last at Infest in 2002(!), and Taken For Granted, which if you know the drill for a modern-day Mesh gig requires a lot of singing of the refrain on the part of the audience to get them to come back on for an encore. The encore featured Born To Lie, which is a great daft dance-along song that has grown to become a favourite of mine.
Not quite as good as Peter Hook & The Light, but definitely the second-best band of the weekend so far!
Band 15: Sarin
A strange pattern for Infest this year, on both the Thursday and Saturday, has been to have an extra band playing AFTER the headliner. Apparently this is due to both Peter Hook & The Light and Mesh having tight timescales and needing to leave earlier in the evening. As such, the final band of the night was Sarin, and again I only nipped in to see them for a short time as it wasn’t really my thing. More repetitive wub, with lots of tweety bird noises for good measure. The sole interesting thing on stage was that the dude was wearing a balaclava, but at least there was an attempt at visuals, even if they were a bad rip-off of the famous 1960s Doctor Who howlaround title sequence.
As such, I was quickly back in the sports bar, where I took this nice picture to celebrate Geth and Matt’s long friendship of mutual manly grumpiness.
Geth and I did check out the DJing in the main stage area after Sarin had finished, but it was a bit uninspiring and my runner’s knee was playing up, so we decided to head back to the hotel. I will note, though, that as we left, the food/smoking area was playing the Vengaboys’ We Like To Party! (The Vengabus), and there was a lot more dancing going on out there than in the main stage area. That’s clearly where the party is!