Dateline Montreal – May 17 – 20, five phases, over thirty artists and DJs and scenesters from around the world.
For one it was set against the backdrop of months of protests, complete with an accompanying tension in the air and heavy police presence that sometimes erupted into violence. From the window of our rented studio, mere steps away from the venue we witnessed marches, police firing concussion grenades and people being arrested.
But that didn’t seem to stop the scenesters from coming out, in fact it seemed to invigorate the mood a little as so often themes and imagery from the Industrial electro scene tend to skirt into the realm of post apocalyptic disorder and social disobedience. Certainly many of the artists themselves remarked upon this while on stage.
And as if acting as a soundboard to all this, right from day one of the festival, there were messages and protests within the scene itself.
Toronto based band Ad.ver.sary, in a bold move, used the festival forum to promote their thought provoking message as a response to the musical themes and imagery of headlining acts Nachtmahr and Combichrist. As part of this report I’m not going to go into too much detail. For a full play by play, the guys down at idie:youdie have it all including interviews and responses.
Set to ‘Friends of Father’, this video was displayed during the final minutes of the Ad·ver·sary + Antigen Shift performance at Festival Kinetik 5.0.
For my part I will say this much. Whether it was deemed inappropriate to use the festival forum to start a debate is neither here nor there in retrospect. On one hand you have the hard work of festival organizers who then have the added weight of damage control over the actions of one band. Having helped with events I can say that this has to suck. On the other hand, some might say that it’s the perfect forum for such a message in the great historical tradition of using large events to shift opinion or expose important messages. In this case speaking from personal belief, I agree this is certainly an important message that perhaps has been the metaphysical elephant in Industrial’s living room for way too long.
No matter which view of the debate you subscribe to, the point I’d like to make here is this:
It’s great to see Industrial get socially / morally motivated again. In the grand subculture tradition of Industrial foundations like Throbbing Gristle, Skinny Puppy, Laibach etc. etc. I will admit I’m happy to have seen this little stir remind us that the root of the music and movement should remain out of the mainstream comfort zone.
We pride ourselves on being “different” and free-thinking artists who challenge accepted norms. All hellz, let’s face it, we pride ourselves on being “freaks”.
So when we start to see the industrial movement go all soft and dare-i-say, mainstream accepted… boom! The shock of Nachtmar’s and Combichrist’s artistic expressions go challenged and we’re happily reminded that this music we all love so dearly is rooted in challenging the norm, challenging ourselves and forcing others to look upon things that might be uncomfortable, controversial, and socially shifting.
In conclusion, the Ad.ver.sary incident was not necessarily the “hightlight” of the festival. A talking point yes, the highlight, no. It was the music and people that made this festival. I could wax on and on about the quality of artists and acts as each just wowed the crowed with the energy and most importantly the amazing music. And I will on the next episode of Machina where Saucy and I will recap live what we saw and heard over the course of four days.
What made this festival for me was the volume of expression within the scene itself, the culmination of messages, imagery and music. I felt distinctly like Industrial was reminding itself of its own history, not just in things like the Ad.ver.sary video but also in the variety of acts, musical styles, and performance presence that made up the 5th grand year of the Kinetik Festival.
This years festival was a reminder that Industrial is healthy and the quality of music and artists coming out these days are on a great cutting edge of a fantastic musically based culture!
For a full musical editorial and recap be sure to tune into Machina Thursday May 31st 0000 GMT on eve-radio.com