As we hadn’t been too late back after day 3, Geth and I managed to be awake mid-morning, and after a couple of hours getting ourselves together, we headed to Frankie & Benny’s for our annual ‘final day of Infest’ carb-loading session. For the last few years, Infest Sunday has started like this…
…followed by changing into a nice comfy Sunday outfit that comfortably accommodates any festival bloat and allows for lots of dancing without getting achy feet.
We made it through the rain to the venue, where we attended the charity tea party for the eating of delicious cake, and then went through to the sports bar to grab a drink before the first band.
Band 16: Promenade Cinema
Promenade Cinema are amazing on record – gorgeous cool ’80s-style synthpop – and they played beautifully, helped along by the lovely pink and blue of the stage lights (props to whoever was doing lighting). Unfortunately they fell victim to the poor sound treatment that, as often happens at Infest, plagued the whole festival. There was a lot of weird stuff going on with the vocals, including a lot of reverb that meant you could still hear the lead singer’s vocals loud and clear even when she passed the mic to the audience, which gave the impression she wasn’t singing live, even though she was (it didn’t help that she was sometimes miming to the keyboardist/backing singer’s vocals as well). At one point, the sound cut out and the lights came on, so there was clearly some mismanaged sound setup going on somewhere. It was a shame, and it kind of spoilt the performance for me. I’d like to see them again sometime with less problematic sound.
When we came out of the stage area, there was a guy hanging around in an Alt-Fest t-shirt, which is brave at Infest. I actually very nearly ordered an Alt-Fest t-shirt before the festival was cancelled, but I don’t think I’d ever have had the balls to wear it if I had got round to it in time!
I should point out at this juncture that the atmosphere on Sunday – both in the sports bar talking to people and in the stage area watching the bands – was very, very sleepy and low-energy. Four days turns out to be very long for a festival, and people really seemed to be flagging.
Band 17: Massenhysterie
The immediate striking thing on stage was the singer, who looks a bit like a ’60s girl updated with blue hair and PVC. The other guy on stage was playing a keytar, which I always appreciate. Music-wise it was nice danceable electro, but pretty generic, and the visuals were a bit disparate and random – sometimes medical-themed, sometimes military, and it seemed like they didn’t really know what their theme was. At the end, there were more flags, which has definitely been a running thing at this year’s Infest.
Band 18: Valhall
Very pretty synth soundscapes, but the music was far too slow for my liking. The two musicians sang pretty much equally, and while the female singer’s vocals were beautiful, I found the male singer’s vocals a bit too semi-harsh for my taste. The stage show was again very slow and sleepy, which I don’t think helped with the general lethargic feeling of the day.
Band 19: Elegant Machinery
More synthpop – should be right up my street, yes? Well, it was perfectly serviceable and danceable, but the tunes were very forgettable – I can’t remember how any of them go at all – and so I found myself zoning out quite a lot. There was a good bit of energy from the band on stage, but nothing really interesting happening. At one point, there were a bunch of people (presumably Swedes) waving a Swedish flag in the audience, and I found myself more interested in that than in what was going on with the performance, which is not really a good sign.
Band 20: Strvngers
I only stayed for one song by this lot, as the music really wasn’t my thing at all. The first song involved a lot of doom bells, clanging guitars, and orgasm noises (the last of which you’ll know is a real pet peeve of mine if you’ve been reading my Now! reviews), and there was yet another flag on stage – a Canadian one this time, as this was the second Canadian band of the weekend. There were also some masks going on, which was at least interesting. While I wasn’t impressed, Matt absolutely loved them and stayed for the whole set, and he said the music did get poppier at some points, so maybe I’ll give them another listen sometime.
Band 21: This Morn’ Omina
Lots of drumming, lots of dancing, lots of flashing lights. Good set, and it actually woke me up a bit. Surprisingly, they played One Eyed Man, which is one of their most popular songs, in the middle of the set. As such, Geth and I felt able to leave the stage area early and enjoy the rest of the performance from the merch area.
One of our Infest traditions is to enjoy a spirit and mixer (or three) at the end of the Sunday night, usually while listening to the last band if it’s someone neither of us are too bothered about seeing. As such, Geth got the drinks in, because the Sunday headliner…
Band 22: Aesthetic Perfection
…was Aesthetic Perfection, and while I like their music, I’ve seen them at enough festivals that I didn’t feel the need to go and stand in the audience this time round. I did nip in for half a song, just to see what was happening on stage, and it was claustrophobically packed in there. Unfortunately, despite the fact that Aesthetic Perfection are shouty, high-energy, and great to dance to, after four days most of the audience were no longer capable of dancing, and the huge crowd looked very subdued. Great kitschy outfits on the part of the band though.
I went back to join Geth for a couple more vodka ‘n’ apple juices, and we headed to the Escape Bar after the bands had finished. While there was some good music being played, it was clear I wasn’t going to get the Soft Cell track that was the only thing that would have got me up dancing, and so after a quick selfie:
…we got our stuff together and left Infest for another year (or several, depending on how we feel in future) to go back to the Jurys Inn and bed.
Slightly long ramble about ideal festival length:
It’s funny, because three-day festivals have always left me wanting more, so I really did think that a four-day festival would be the perfect length. That was not the case. I did feel pretty tired on Sunday evening, and even if I hadn’t done, I think the fact that everyone else was clearly tired would have brought me down anyway. Bod mentioned on the Thursday night that he thought what they should have done instead was have a full day on the Friday (the Thursday and Friday were both half days with four bands, the Saturday and Sunday full days with seven bands, and the usual pattern is Friday half day, Saturday and Sunday full day), and I have to say, with hindsight, that I agree with him. Probably the only time I’ve ever felt a festival was the perfect length was after Beautiful Days introduced Thursday camping – so you arrive on the Thursday, have three full days of music on the Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, and then leave on the Monday. It’s a four-night holiday, but only three days of bouncing around. Maybe in the future, if I’m feeling flush enough to spring for an extra night at the hotel, I’ll consider travelling to Infest on the Thursday evening.
Anyway, that is not something I need to worry about right now. I had a great time this weekend, and I know I’ll be back again.