Corporation, Sheffield, UK – 04/18-20/2014
The second half of the Sunday afternoon at Corporation had both the expectations and the rhythms ratcheted sky high and Belzebass kicked things off immediately after the break, providing a lengthy organic mix of high tempo hardcore and dubstep that replaced the previously cancelled God Module. The duo of DJs, hidden behind the laptops with scarves conspicuously covering their faces, moved the crowd with their raving chain of beats, but in the long run, this rather monotone set lacked variety. No one seemed to mind though and Mr. K and Splattaboy of Belzebass prepped the audience for the rest of the evening’s highly danceable performances.
On the verge of physical exhaustion but still undefeated, the Resistanz crowd was then treated to the somewhat esoteric and primal force of This Morn’ Omina’s merger of bongos and electro. Like a white clothed guru, Mika Goedrijk paced the stage barefoot to the at once soothing and riveting echo of the tribal instrumentation. His set was rich in tracks from the latest album L’Unification des Forces Opposantes
– “Iboga,” “Enuma Elish,” and “(The) Rûach (of God)” all provided ample opportunities for the fans to reach a personal catharsis and the entire performance had an uncanny quality of being equal parts cerebral and physical. Encouraged by Goedrjik himself, the crowd began to scale the stage to the passages of “One-Eyed Man” and “(The) Ninth Key,” and under the heavy cloak of fog, This Morn’ Omina delivered a collectively memorable experience that even the other artists, gathered in a small space under the stage, seemed to enjoy.
The distant, clean sounds of Seabound’s set began to echo through the venue late at night and since many were waiting for this show for awhile, the floor seemed purposefully and densely packed. In spite of some rather annoying technical issues that plagued his performance, a stoic Frank Spinath confidently delivered a string of classic club-friendly songs like “Exorcize,” as well as the material from Speak in Storms
. All of the hallmarks of Seabound’s unmistakably warm, emotive vocalization and the band’s penchant for, ironically, coldly precise melodies were present and accounted for and even those listeners who never committed to Spinath’s brand of intimate EBM and pop merger were easily drawn into one of the best and most straightforwardly entertaining three-quarters-of-an-hour performances of the Resistanz Sunday. The synths provided an entrancing and absorbing backdrop for songs that patently hit all the right and highly romantic notes, making for a danceable set that didn’t have to rely on angst, overwhelming intensity of beats, or cacophonous layering of sonic textures.
Apoptygma Berzerk’s return to the alternative frontline was the last live performance of the day as DJs kept people entertained until the early morning hours. Say what you will about the actual positioning of the seminal Apop on the industrial gradient, but among the audience, there was no lack of certainty that Stephan Groth can deliver a set list riddled with hits and club favorites. There was no shortage of the blood pumping futurepop classics like “Until the End of the World” or “Starsign” and the opening moments of Apoptygma’s show saw the floor packed to the limits. Regardless of whether the listeners’ interest was genuine or if they were merely there to celebrate the final songs of the entire Resistanz, Apop had a good momentum, especially since the troubling venture into indie rock territory with “You And Me Against the World” was pushed out of the way early on, leaving nothing but the purest examples of electro glamour for the audience to enjoy. Still, there seemed to be a visible exhaustion in Apop’s members with the formula and the persisting notoriety of the band’s older material. Despite the introduction of the latest Major Tom
EP into the flow of the set, the expectations of the fans provided Apoptygma Berzerk with a firm template, a checklist if you wish, that stripped the band of any unpredictability or sense of true enjoyment. Not until the act’s full comeback will we know if that’s actually true, but as a headlining act and a finale to 2014’s Resistanz, Apoptygma Berzerk was a treat. In many ways, these pioneers of the genre provided a fitting conclusion to the festival that prides itself in staging an eclectic crossover of bands operating within the electro, EBM, and industrial genres.
It was an impressive and accomplished finale to Resistanz 2014 and there was plenty more that ReGen sadly missed out on. Straftanz delivered the final set of its career and apparently did so in a truly comedic fashion, Modulate enhanced its proven electro stompers with an injection of some new material, Organ Donors and Cyberpunkers escalated the tempo of the festival’s electro offensive, while Memmaker and Assemblage23 swayed the mood into much more romantic and melodic territory. And keep in mind, dear reader, that this still isn’t an exhaustive account of the Easter weekend in Sheffield. The value of emerging and already established festivals like Resistanz cannot be understated, especially with the sudden cancellation of Toronto’s Kinetik and the ubiquitous voices of concern regarding the asthmatic condition of the industrial scene. The audience that gathered from all over the world in Corporation for the three days of Resistanz was living proof of the continuous adoration of the music, both old and new; something that the organizers of Resistanz are not scared to fight for and deliver, hopefully for years to come.
Damian Glowinkowski (DamienG)
Resistanz Festival Website http://www.resistanzfestival.com
Resistanz Festival Facebook https://www.facebook.com/resistanzfestival
Resistanz Festival Twitter https://twitter.com/ResistanzFest
This Morn’ Omina