Monday, 8 April 2013

Live: Resistanz Festival 2013, Sheffield Corporation 30th - 31st March

Sheffield Corporation
Day 1 : Saturday 30th March 2013

The third annual Resistanz festival is also the second to sell out. Lures include a reformed Neuroticfish, the increasingly popular Celldweller and a European debut for iVardensphere.

The event was preceded by the Escalation night on Friday, which had its highs and lows.

Highs being Surgyn, looking and sounding slicker than ever, moving away from the medical elements to become a 21st Century Industrial Soft Cell, with plenty of new songs about wanting fame alongside previous favourites like ‘Sharp as Stars’ and ‘Aesthetics’.

Lows from Friday would be Alien Vampires, when your music is too bland to sell, get some ‘Satan’s Slut’ to get their tits out. Yay, sexism and awful stereotypes that are best forgotten.
Thankfully, Alien Vampires also provided the point where no matter what else happened that weekend, it would still be better than them.

So, then day one.  

Despite the early stage time, there’s still a modest crowd here to hear the oontz, oontz, oontz of husband and wife combo Phosgore. It’s often difficult to bring, what is effectively, a DJ set to life – but with interesting costumes and a commanding stage presence from Flo D, they give a good effort in warming up the crowd.

Cease2xist bring the swag!
Cease2xist really give it a bit of a kick though, with musicians with different background influences, they’re probably the most ‘punk’ of the acts this weekend. A guitarist who leaps around on stage like his pants are on fire, vocalist Dayve Yates climbing on and over everything and poor Seamus limited in his running around due to being on keys.  Together they spit out 45 minutes of anti-establishment spite, backed with a hard industrial spine. Exhausting.

Still, you can sleep during Chainreactor who don’t really know how to bring their show to life and just kinda stand their lifeless pressing buttons.  Their tracks have some interesting melodies if you can find these below the chunky drum track.

After a brief interlude Funker Vogt are there as a late replacement for Seabound.  This has brought disappointment to some people, but they step into the slot comfortably.   Of course, they’re a known act with a good collection of club hits; tracks like ‘Subspace’ have good depths and get the crowd fired up nicely. As a minor grumble, it is sometimes a little disappointing to see a drummer as the only live musician on stage, particularly when there are drums in the backing track, but still not shabby for a late replacement.

Here come the drums!  Scott from iVardensphere
With a set-up which appears to be drums, drums and more drums it’s clear that rhythm is important to iVardensphere  who proceed to drum the shit out of everything, organic kits, electronic kits and toms – whilst also providing layers of electronics. They toured with Combichrist in the US and their heavy sound would fit in quite well there but they also have tribal elements which helps them stand out in a scene with a lot of similar bands. They are simply awe-inspiring.   The crowd is shoulder to shoulder lapping every moment of their intense set. Despite most members having to remain static your eyes still flit from member to member as you don’t want to miss what is going on.   A lot of people were looking forward to them, but many surprised at just how well they nailed it.

Have an (Uber)byte of this!
This type of band is near impossible to follow, so that Uberbyte do so very well is an achievement within itself.  Their key message for tonight is “let’s have some fun” and so we’ve got everything from Cthulu masks to blow up dolls to glitter cannons to Harlem Shake with Nicholas Cage masks.  OK...  but, no, again taking most of their set from the newest album, 'Five Year Plan', there’s plenty of breaks and beats as they show off their hardstyle and drum n bass influences.  There are also some very personal messages in some of the tracks – including songs Richard wrote about his wife [‘The Serpent and the Dove’] and family [‘Archetype’] and this shines as brightly as some of the dafter tracks are fun.

Daniel Graves brings the light
Tonight’s headliners Aesthetic Perfection pretty much come, deliver, leave. Thankfully in that order.  They open with a melody of the two recent singles, giving a calm intro in the form of ‘All Beauty Destroyed’, the set kicks into life as they turn it into ‘A Nice Place To Visit’ – as Tim Van Horn beats all life out of the drum kit like he’s three members of iVardensphere while Elliott Berlin dances round the stage with keyboard in tow. Maybe keyboardists don’t need to be still. Of course, AP are fronted by the charismatic Daniel Graves, as charming as he is lethal with a mic in hand.  
Aside from the opening bars of the set, it’s an otherwise heavy set, the Manson-cum-Goldfrapp stylings of ‘Hit the Streets’, the ferocity of ‘Spit it Out’, the bile of ‘The Great Depression’ and the sleaze of ‘Filthy Design’ are part of the hard hitting set that barely stops for breathe.  It’s pretty much job done.

Day 2 : Saturday 31st May 2013

An insanely early start (it’s not even 4pm!) for Vostor means sadly we did not catch their performance.  Others missed them for the same reason.  Maybe a little too early for a band, especially one many who did catch them raved about.

BlackOpz - Oontz with intelligence
Like Phosgore yesterday, the role of BlackOpz (and presumably Vostor) is to warm people up with a bit oontz.  There is, however, certain intelligence in the tunes of BlackOpz – there’s a developed sound that makes them a little *more* than just another dun-dun-dun act. They’ll be a lot higher billed in future… ones to watch.

Don’t think many saw what was coming from Terrolokaust – a bit industrial-metal for a Sunday afternoon, mosh-pits, Jonathon Davies-esque vocals (and no surprises at a Korn cover!) and influences from Ministry and the heavier end of Nine Inch Nails.  The beef in the set lifts an enthusiastic crowd as a metal boot is stamped down.

Terrolokaust - Sheffield likes metal, right?
After two harder bands, Method Cell stick out a touch for their more synthy set. Tracks from the début album ‘Curse of a Modern Age’ have been spiced up and remixed a bit, whilst new material sounds like it’d fit in with the old album. Which seems a bit backwards, but then it is a cracking album. A new track with much promise is ‘The Fallacy’, which Apollo jokes is the “most manly song they’ve ever written”, it’s got a lot more lift and boot to it. Impressive. They probably take the award for jolliest band on stage, despite having songs about what bitches some ex’s can be and how much they hate day jobs.  Always charming, always enjoyable.

There’s a mid-afternoon interlude, for band signings, eating, drinking and being merry – and after that is the not-quite-so-merry Noisuf-X who come with banging rhythms and harder instrumental techno. Not the most visual of bands as you’ve a guy pressing buttons (may or may not be switched on) and a guy hitting a drum pad.  Musically, enjoyable enough to thud about to, but barely memorable.

ADR - at a rare calm moment
Although, Alter Der Ruine couldn’t be much less memorable…!  Surreal industrial, frontman bordering on the nuts and the plain crazy – oh – and a stage invasion with many other bands who showed off the moustaches on their bums… OK… probably some songs in there somewhere. That you don’t know what’s coming next keeps them just about interesting as their set is otherwise Marmite. Some seem to lap up the madness and others seem genuinely disappointed.

Resistanz was a total Cell' out.  Geddit?
It’s been clear for a while there’s a demand for Celldweller in the UK, but it wasn’t until fifteen minutes before they went on stage just how clear this was.  As soon as ADR left the stage, the crowd that had painfully (in some cases) put up with them started screaming for Klayton!  The room was shoulder to shoulder and person to person and the response was phenomenal!   Even before he pressed play on the DJ gear… So, on stage you have one guy (this is billed as a ‘DJ Set’ rather than the full band) with a couple of laptops and a mixer – plus a guitar. Yet he still manages to blow away the majority.  Most probably just never thought they’d see any incarnation of the band, so are glad to see Klayton there, on stage. The set is a mixture of his own stuff, remixes he’s done and a couple of mash-ups. That he manages to get a sell-out industrial crowd singing along to Black Sabbath is probably an achievement within itself.    Influences of dubstep, metal, drum n bass and rock all go into his set – he occasionally pops out from behind the booth to play some guitar and sing one of his tracks.  Although… whilst it’s understanding that he cannot come out and sing the likes of ‘Tough Guy’ whilst live mixing, to dance around the stage with guitar to ‘Switchback’ and NOT sing his most famous track live was understandably disappointing to many people and boggling to others. Whilst that was part-way redeemed for a triumphant rendition of ‘The Lucky One’, it seemed a very strange decision to make.

Sascha does his best Jesus impression.
It is Easter Sunday....
And so… it’s time to go back to the futurepop with the newly reformed Neuroticfish.  Given that they were at their peak about ten years ago and were one of the bands deemed ‘the future of music’, you’d think now that we’re in the future that they wouldn’t sound so dated. They are working on a new album, but they’ve got some catching up to do…. But still, Sascha is an easy going guy describing his band as “silly German Techno” and arguing with the crowd about Doctor Who and playing their cover of ‘They’re Coming To Take Me Away’. It’s daft, it’s fun. It’s a last chance to be a bit jovial over the weekend (well, not counting aftershow DJs…) and if you like the band it’s full of their better known tracks, ‘The Bomb’, ‘Velocity’ and ‘Why Don’t You Hate Me?’ amongst the mix.  Whilst it doesn’t really hit a peak, after all that’s happened over the weekend – it’s still a soothing way to bow out.

That’s that really. A phenomenal Saturday and an enjoyable Sunday leaving people gasping for next year’s event. The success of Resistanz is a true beacon in the UK at the minute for industrial/electronic music and doesn’t look set to dim just yet.

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