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Feindfest @ The Bakery, Sunday, April 27

Clan Of Xymox

Covenant, Clan Of Xymox, Leaether Strip

Keller Kinder

The Bakery

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Touting itself as “Australia’s only crowd funded and crowd led festival of gothic, industrial and alternative music”, this year’s Fiend Fest line up ran the gamut of styles from Goth, to Industrial, EBM to Synthpop. An online campaign quickly made its required presales guaranteeing the tour to come to the West Coast for the first time.

Most people would think that Goth is dead. But they would be wrong. Perth does have a very small but dedicated band of holdouts still listening to Bauhaus, Skinny Puppy and the Sisters of Mercy. Local nights like Descent, Club Freak and Incursion still provide a venue for those who like to dance to music that leans towards the dark.

That Fiend Fest was held on the first night of the year that was both cold and wet seems quite appropriate. It’s the sort of weather that lends itself to leather, PVC and trench coats and boy were they out in force.

Up first were New Zealand act Keller Kinder. The youngest act on the bill by a fair margin, but if they were intimidated by the company they were keeping they didn’t show it. They are a band that performs with their tongue stuck firmly in their cheek. Not only with lyrics about bats, bell towers and graveyards but also looking the part with leather jeans, singlets and jet back black hair. Although playing to a small opening crowd, vocalist Duncan Nairn kept the crowd enthralled even with a lack of smoke, much to his disappointment. Whoever heard of a Goth gig without a smoke machine, thanks Bakery!

Up next next was Leaether Strip, who jumped on stage looking like a manic Leather Bear, yelling for the crowd to get up the front. From that point on Claus and his husband Kurt had the crowd dancing. Pacing back and forth like a caged animal, still able to keep the pace after 20+ years. With an incredible 26 album back catalogue to select from, the set hit on a mixture of classics like Japanese Bodies and more recent hits Zyklon B and Civil Disobedience. As a fan of this act since I first heard them as a young 14-year-old clubbing at Dominion, this was a pretty amazing moment for me. Screaming abrasive synths, distorted vocals, all peppered with film samples, a definite contender for top 10 acts for the year. (not to mention a hint at a return tour next year)

It’s not normally a good sign when the first words coming out a band’s mouth are “Hi, this is our first time in Perth, and it will be the last time”, however we might not hold it against Clan of Xymox considering they have been touring since 1981. Another act with a significant back catalogue to chose from, the crowd got a selection from different tracks past and present. Of all the acts, Xymox were the most static, picking a spot on stage and staying there for most of the set. Although they weren’t a hugely interesting act to watch, they provided a tight set.

Finally the main act took to the stage. Covenant were a last minute replacement after Front Line Assembly had to pull out. Although this disappointed a large number of people I spoke to, Eskil, Andreas and Daniel put on an incredible show.  All three stepped on stage in sharp suits and slicked back hair, but ties and jackets were quickly dispensed with due to the high energy performance. You would be hard pressed to find an act more popular in the scene than Covenant, and you could tell with the crowd singing along to every song. With a set over far to quickly, full of hit after hit, the Swedish lads left the stage with everyone shouting, hoping for an encore, unfortunately the light turned up.

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