31 August 2010

Infest

On Monday I returned from Infest, the three-day alternative electronic music festival held at Bradford University Student Union. It was fantastic. I saw loads of bands, danced all night, found some great afterparties, and met some wonderful people.
I took Friday off work, and travelled up around lunchtime, after (of course) some last-minute packing. Arriving at Bradford Interchange station I found it was only a ten minute walk to the university, and checked in to my room. It was like a slightly older/cheaper copy of the room I had in 2nd year — including en-suite! Pretty luxurious for a music festival.
I headed to the bar, and accidentally found myself first in the queue for a wristband when I asked the way. It was nice to sit outside in the sun with a pint of cider and talk to the other early arrivers.
Bands on Friday (that I remember enough to write about):
Mandro1d: A funny (as in, comic) band to start the festival, they made fun of (North) England.

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Heimstatt Yipotash and De/Vision also played, and I enjoyed them, but don't really remember them.
DJs played until about 2:30, when everyone wandered back to the university halls. On the top floor we found an afterparty — some London DJs had tried to book a nightclub in Bradford, but hadn't been able to, so they stuck the equipment in the kitchen/lounge area of one of the flats.
Great fun, although I'm no longer used to cigarette (hmm...) smoke!
Saturday:
I woke up very late, but still in time to see the first band, Northern Kind. They were surprisingly good: the singer had a good voice, and the music was great too.
(Memmaker played and I don't remember much, Parralox's singer was unfortunately in hospital.)
Agonoize put on a fantastic show, which I saw from the centre at the front. Hence, I was covered in fake blood (and worse) by the end. Yummy!

What's he holding?

Ah, I see.
For [x]-Rx it was glowstick time!
Normally bands like [x]-Rx are too noisy for me, but with a great atmosphere they're suddenly fun :-)
I saw Rotersand a few months ago at Wave Gotik Treffen, and was a little disappointed — some of their music seemed a bit dull compared to the other bands. I liked about half the set, and was bored with the rest.
After the SU closed we wandered around for over an hour trying to find an afterparty. After crashing into several incorrect flats as a result of mis-typed text messages and mis-heard phone calls, we eventually found a party, only for it to be shut down five minutes later — it was above the compère's bedroom, and he claimed he needed to sleep. The other party wasn't much fun (the pretentious DJ threw crisps at me for waving glowsticks around), so we started a small party of our own, and I stayed up until 8:30. I set my alarm for 15:30 on Sunday.
Sunday:
(I slept through Concrete Lung, but I've seen them before.)
Patenbrigade: Wolff played "construction synth for crane operators" (or something). They had lots of (re)construction imagery on the screen behind them and wore orange hi-viz jackets and hard hats. Their music somehow evoked images of big, concrete, communist building projects.
I missed Ayria playing in London, which is unfortunate, as this is another great band.
Months ago I walked out of Nachtmahr's free set in Slimelight, but I can't think why. They were great! I'm not very good at describing music, so you'll just have to listen yourself.

Will those girls move?

Yes!
Project Pitchfork were the final band, and the festival headliners, but after a couple of songs I left — I don't really like their style, especially the growly singing, and it didn't really fit in with the rest of the bands.
There was general silliness on the dancefloor, including limbo, getting half the dancefloor doing the Macarena to what felt like an extremely extended version of Combichrist's "Tractor" (it's exhausting!), a girls-in-the-playground clapping game during something else, and trying to dance to the fire alarm (I've heard much better alarms, this one was just a two-tone whine. Where's the synthesized "Security alert! Please evacuate the building!" when you need it?).

Bradford: I'd planned to spend the day looking round Bradford on Monday, but was left disappointed. The city is nice — lots of gothic buildings in a pedestrianised centre — but everything was shut for the bank holiday, or closed down permanently, and the whole atmosphere after the race protests on Saturday was very unwelcoming. Very disconcerting was the shuttle bus service put on during term-time: it went from the union building to the halls, which were all within the university campus and about a two minute walk away! Can it really be that unsafe?
In any case, I was looking sufficiently "different" that I felt uncomfortable whenever groups of young men passed me on quiet streets, so I gave up with Bradford and took the train to Leeds for the afternoon.

15 March 2010

5000km!

I've cycled roughly 5000km since 1st March, 2009. I don't yet have anything to compare this with, and I wasn't aiming to cover any particular distance. About 3600km of that is going to and from work (15km round trip), another 1300km will be going to shops, seeing friends, going to gigs etc (going to Camden Town and back is about 30-35km, and I did something like that around once a week, so it sounds about right). Roughly 100km is cycling for the sake of cycling — my ride to Epsom Downs, and the second ride to Reigate (...aka Gatwick Airport). I enjoyed them, except for the significant amount of time I spent stopping at every other fork in the road to check I was still on course — this was frustrating and slowed me down considerably. I've ordered a Garmin eTrex Vista HCx GPS unit, plus the bicycle attachment, which hopefully will make this much more enjoyable. It's possible to load maps from Open Street Map onto the unit, which I hope will be very useful — at least in South East England, where the maps seem to be reasonably complete.