Infest 2022 - Day 1 - 26/08
I am writing this review almost a year after the event itself, yet I can still so very vividly remember parking up and walking over to the venue. The Bradford University campus was filled with darkly clad festival goers buzzing for the weekend to start and it filled me with excitement and had me feel at home the moment I got out of the car.
After we collected our passes for the weekend, we made our way inside and I found my spot for the evening on the left side of the stage. The line-up of the night was a promising start for the weekend ahead.
First up were Knight$ - their sound filled with synth sounds from the 80s, almost like a fun version of Depeche Mode. The songs that stuck with me from that set were “Gelato” and “What’s Your Poison” which apparently is a fun Irish drinking song.However, my highlight was the live Saxophone being played halfway through the set.
Overall, a very fun and entertaining act to watch which certainly left you happy and excited for the rest of the night.
The second band to play that night was Attrition who for the first time since the 80s had all their original members on stage. It was certainly a special night for them. Martin Bowes set the stage by lighting up a handful of incense sticks and almost ritualistically cleansed it during their first few songs. Attritions sound is heavily instrumental with either spoken words or melodic singing that is purely used to highlight the meticulously played notes by the various instruments in their songs. Their sound could be described as ethereal, darkwave and industrial ambient meets classic orchestra.
During their set Attrition didn’t hide behind a laptop or just a synth, but also brought what looked like a e-clarinet on stage to help them create their spiritual sounds. The band has the ability to make you feel connected to yourself on a deeper level and allows you to forget about the world around you. The set itself was just magical.
Caustic played next and they switched things up massively. We went from slow paced and ethereal sounds to hard hitting, unfiltered and fast pace industrial beats. I must admit that I never listened to Caustic prior to seeing them live, but these guys just absolutely blew me away that night. Those dirty and filthy beats, the unashamed way they approach important topics in their songs and the way Caustic’s sound is just so pure made me fall in love with them. They had me in absolute awe and when I looked at the crowd behind me, I can say that I certainly was not on my own. I saw a crowd that moved to the beat, happy to finally be at home and be allowed to be who they are and enjoy the music they love. Matt and Eric made sure that every song they picked for their set hit the right note with the crowd.
At the midpoint of their set, Caustic played “Not Your Body” and were joined by Grabyourface who took over the vocals of the song. The stage was also filled with all the presenters of the weekend who held up placards to protest the issues around abortion laws and spoke out in favour of pro-choice.
By that point, the band had completely won me over and they have now become a staple in my music library. If you like music that starts off with a heavy layer of bass, is littered with hard hitting beats and highlights important social and political topics, then do yourself a favour and check out Caustic. You will not be disappointed.
The Final act of the night was The Cassandra Complex who played their first ever concert in Bradford in 1984 and would be on stage once again in the original line-up that night. Their genre of music is darkwave through and through. Their old-school goth and dark sound made me fantasize about late night walks in the cemetery with fog lingering between the headstones and vampires and ghosts lurking in the corners. But their songs aren’t just superficially goth, The Cassandra Complex ensure that their lyrics highlight poignant topics like the terrible truth of African child soldiers dying at the hands of their perpetrators or the event of the challenger rocket explosion.
Singer Rodney Orpheus however was able to ensure the night wouldn’t end too dark and kept the crowd entertained in-between songs by engaging directly with them and making them laugh. Each song from their setlist was pure bliss for my black heart and they overall rounded off night one of Infest perfectly.
Night one had me fall in love with the event. The Infest team had selected the right bands for the and arranged the line-up of the night just right.
All photos in this post are shot by Luke Agger-Joynes