Patrons coming to Montreal for this year’s Kinetik Festival found energy and hospitality. The five-day party served as a pool of camaraderie and enjoyment, as dancers, music lovers, musicians, and other artists came together to share in the usual common festivities. Kinetik 4.0 did not fail to quench the thirst of synthetic music lovers traveling from far and wide. By the time it was over, many were already lamenting the end of the event and thinking ahead to the next Kinetik, as well as speculating on the possibility of other festivals forming.
This article covers some of the highlights of the festival between Thursday and Sunday nights and will be followed by a series of interviews with performing artists mind.in.a.box, Modulate, Monolith, iVardensphere, Terrorfakt, and Solitary Experiments.
The main venue for the event this year was named, appropriately, Metropolis. The staff at Metropolis were uncommonly friendly and helpful, and the venue itself was a near-perfect location for the festival. A sizable dance floor, adequate room for vendors, and a large balcony fitted with extended bar-tables and stools, provided a diverse environment capable of serving both the most active dancers, as well as patrons who would rather watch from a distance in the comfort of a warm seat. The venue also had excellent acoustic qualities and good lighting. Additionally, Metropolis provided a wonderful gesture to its patrons by providing water fountains inside of the venue, a basic service that few facilities extend to their guests.
The second venue, Club Soda, which was used only briefly, was acceptable, but too small for the number of people participating. Nevertheless, it served its purpose.
On Thursday evening, Ivardensphere delivered a heavy, danceable performance including utilizing the accompaniment of a belly dancer. Funker Vogt performed afterward with tracks such as, White Trash, and Fire & Forget. The latter was performed with guest accompaniment from FGFC820 vocalist, Rexx Arkana. Die Krupps performed well, providing well-delivered hits like Germaniac, that energized the dance floor. As the evening went on, Front Line Assembly continued to pour energy into Metropolis.
Friday’s show saw its first noteworthy performance at the hands of Modulate, which shared articulate beats with an eager dance floor. The Klinik did a good job at gathering visual attention and continuing the energy. Phosgore then put on one of the best performances of the evening, providing a good late-night wrap up.
On Saturday, W.A.S.T.E. opened the venue with a strong sound and an appropriately disturbing video collage of numerous movie clips, finishing the set by hammering a laptop to death. Monolith did well at continuing the dance beats, which were then picked up [x]-Rx, performing an excellent heavy-hitting set. Xotox followed, with more good dance tracks and a more political video backdrop filled with images of starving people, obese individuals, and weapons of war. Terrorfakt then delivered the performance that their fans have become accustomed to; blazing sparks into the crowd and mutilating a pedestrian barrier. As usual, Terrorfakt’s set was as much visual as auditory, and best viewed behind goggles.
Needless to say, the Saturday night audience swelled in numbers for VNV Nation. Ronan Harris happily interacted with the crowd in his characteristically appreciative manner, asking audience members to enjoy themselves in the present by turning their cameras off for a while and suggesting to one person, “You can text that guy later.” He also poked fun of the number of doomsday songs in VNV Nation’s discography, joking before performing Further, “I grew up in a Catholic country. What can I say?” He also subtly brought up the ironic appropriateness of the songs on a day that was marked by one religious group as being the end of civilization as we know it. Ronan went on to suggest that the songs were appropriate for the “zealots with billboards,” and then played Nemesis. The set ended with Perpetual, and Ronan’s words, “Ladies and gentlemen, you’ve been beautiful, stay exactly who you are.” Overall, VNV Nation played a good show and helped to add their signature humor and respectful appreciativeness to the festival.
The night ended with Front 242, which wrapped up the evening quite well. A large audience stuck around for the solid, melodic beats which kept the dance floor active right up until the venue closed.
On Sunday, System Syn put on a good show, expressing appreciation of the audience, and performing with clear and crisp vocals. They also did a fairly good dance cover of REM’s Losing My Religion. Bruderschaft also performed well, and had their own retro tracks to cover; INXS’s Don’t Change, and Human League’s The Things That Dreams Are Made Of. At one point during the show, Aesthetic Perfection’s Daniel Graves acted as a guest vocalist. Assemblage 23 played well, but sooner than expected, as they were moved up to an earlier spot to allow mind.in.a.box to attempt a recovery of their lost equipment, which was not delivered to the appropriate location upon arriving on their flight. Solitary Experiments kept the audience moving with their performance and set the stage for Covenant, who played with their usual stylish and dignified stage presence. Covenant did well at energizing the audience with a mixture of newer tracks as well as old favorites. Mind.in.a.box performed last, and had a rather short set, due to their technical difficulties. Overall, their performance ended the evening well.
— Joshua Kreger; photos by Joshua Kreger and Naida Zukic