Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kinetik: Day Two

Catching only the last two tracks of their set, we don’t necessarily feel qualified to pass judgment on the Canadian duo. We will however note that what we did hear was more or less what we expected, if maybe a touch less techno oriented. Perfectly serviceable atmospherics and beat oriented with hissed vocals.

Thus far, the unquestioned show stealers. An enthused hometown crowd were validated by a performance that would’ve quickly won over even the most staid and unfamiliar audience. The high-tempo, breakneck tracks guaranteed instant dancefloor mayhem, but also delivered plenty of rhythmic complexity for those with a yen for chin-stroking restraint. Much of their material uses classic techno song structures, but with a punishing, all-enveloping wash of noise indicative of Yann Faussurier and Guillaume Nadon’s pedigree. Copies of their debut LP “How To Enlist In A Robot Uprising” (Replete with BPM listings on the back cover! Old school!) were flying off merch tables afterwards, and hearing multiple cuts from this beast at the club this year is an absolute certainty. Get your ass to Mars.

Rabia Sorda
Balancing electro and acoustic elements is always difficult in a live context, and in Rabia Sorda’s case the keyboards were unfortunately buried in the mix, making it difficult to follow each song’s progression. In spite of that, the band delivered an energetic set, largely fuelled by live drums which lent the proceedings a more traditionally “rock” sound.

Funker Vogt
A metric fuckton of Funker shirts could be spotted over the course of Kinetik, and the reception the long-standing German band received spoke to their evident popularity. We’ll assume from the cheers that those stoked on seeing Funker got exactly what they were hoping for, but in our humble estimation that’s little more than the uninspired rehash of a single, relatively vapid and fluffy formula over, over, and over again. “This is German electronic body music!” declared lead singer Jens Kästel as the band started in on their set. If that’s the case, we can lay EBM to rest alongside the Weimar Republic and other long since deceased teutonic cultural movements. An improvised game of being able to sing the lyrics to “Tragic Hero” overtop of each song that was tossed out soon ceased to be a joke. We’d conservatively guess that two-thirds of their set follows roughly same chord progressions and general song structure, not to mention never straying from a range of four or five BPM.

Outside of the overarching modern military conflict theme, Funker’s ethos is a slightly muddled one. On one hand there’s the traditionally distorted vocals, on the other there’s the cheesiness of the horn voices that carry their song’s melodies. This schizophrenia carried over to their stage show and costuming. One dude thinks he’s in Covenant, another thinks he’s the DJ for Scooter, and another’s under the delusion that he’s playing paintball. We just don't get what's hip with the kids these days.

Oh Jesus. Following a band as popular as Funker and going onstage at 1 am’s an unenviable task (we’d guess that a full half of the crowd left as soon as the final beat of “Tragic Hero” was played), and Kiew were also the first band who had to deal with substantive technical problems. Neither of these factors provide enough cover to excuse what was not only hands down the worst set of Kinetik, but the worst set by an electronic band of any repute either of us had seen in years.

Acceptable glitchy shit out of frontman Thedi's rig, but his repeated yelling of inane slogans drowned out anything interesting that might've been going on. Factor in a guitarist and bassist apparently jamming out in an entirely random fashion and you've four elements heading out in entirely different directions and getting absolutely nowhere. We've no idea if Kiew takes an improv approach to live performance, but we've seen enough excellent improvised electronic sets and more than enough mediocre ones to know the difference. Any audience member could've been on stage wanging on a theremin for the duration of the set and it would neither have added nor subtracted a thing from this shoddy and embarrassing wankfest. Kiew have a sizeable following (having been active since 1990), but given that this was our first exposure to them, we certainly can't count ourselves amongst it (sorry, Richard).

Acceptable noise-EBM hybrid that got feet moving (no small feat this late in the evening) but didn't leave much of an impression. Good workrate. In all honesty, we were too tired by this point (not to mention zombified by Kiew) to really digest anything remotely complex or challenging, so this was a bit of a relief.


Anonymous said...

art is madness.

Anonymous said...

"We just don't get what's hip with the kids these days."

Apparently not.