Virus feat. Infected Mushroom @ Metro City, Perth (02/03/08)

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On Sunday the 2nd of March, Perth was treated to several musical showcases. One of the picks of the bunch was Virus which featured headline performances from Israeli’s live psytrancers Infected Mushroom, the UK’s drum n’ bass heavyweight Outrage, Melbourne’s own jetsetter Dr. Willis and one of the island of the long white cloud’s newest exports Trei, as well as a huge contingent of talented local DJs. The setting – the main room and upstairs bar within Metro City. The stage was set for an explosive night of beats from across the dance music spectrum.

My crew (which on this occasion, consisted of more than ten members) and I arrived at Metro City at around 11pm. I had wanted to catch Dr. Willis and Flaunt’s respective sets, so as to continue on with enjoying the techier vibe that I had been relishing in earlier in the day, but some rather time consuming complications prevented the said indulgence. No matter, instead we were treated to a warm-up psychedelic trance set by locals Ondy & Akira. At this moment in time, there was hardly a person standing still as these two talented DJs pumped out a deeply warped array of mind-melting sounds (and it has to be said that their set sounded absolutely fantastic on Metro City’s soundsystem). I could feel the tension rising as the crowd readied itself for the main attraction.

At 12:30am, Infected Mushroom burst onto the stage in truly explosive fashion. For those who have yet to attend a live Infected Mushroom performance or buy one of their albums, a little introduction. Hailing from Haifa in Israel, Infected Mushroom was founded by members Erez Aizen (AKA I.Zen) and Amit Duvdevani (AKA Duvdev). The two were joined by guitarist Tom Cunningham from the USA and Brazilian percussionist Rogerio Jardim for their Perth gig. It is worth noting that their other touring guitarist Erez Netz is renowned for performing electric guitar exhibitionism (he often opens each show by playing the guitar with his mouth), and we were just ever so slightly disappointed about the fact that we did not get to witness such a performance this time around.

Infected Mushroom’s fanbase continues to grow at an exponential rate with every concert as they couple an energetic psy-trance-come-rock sound with an electrifying stage presence. They are also known for touring virtually non-stop, taking only fifty days off per year. I have to admit that prior to the concert, I knew very little of the magic these musicians bring to their audiences and ultimately, I was left with the feeling (during and after their set) that I should have got to know them a long time ago.

Nothing could have prepared me for what I had witnessed during their ninety minute performance. Infected Mushroom’s opening track featured a heavy-metal influence as well as vocals of an Eastern nature (I am not certain of the lyrics’ exact origin, but this vocal theme was to continue throughout their set). The atmosphere inside felt palpably alive as Infected Mushroom belted out two more songs that maintained the intense energy that had been set by their opening song. Despite tired legs, I could not help but jump up and down in time with the music, feeling totally enveloped by it. When I turned around to take a look at the crowd, all I could see was a sea of air-borne hands. Never before have I danced within a musical audience that went as ballistic as this.

Cities of the Future was one of the many hits they performed, and the Arabic nature of the vocals the vocals throughout the performance added a truly dazzling element to their sound. Jarim, like compatriot Igor Cavalera so often does, showed that he is one hell of a drummer while guitarist Tom Neville belted out stunning melodies with his guitar. I cannot help but reiterate just how amazing Infected Mushroom’s music is, but the way in which these four musicians interacts with their audience is something else. I looked at my watch and realised that minutes were passing by like nanoseconds and before I knew it, Infected Mushroom’s performance had reached its conclusion. The reception the band received was as deafening as the music itself (and it’s worth noting that the sound technician did the right thing by turning the volume down ever so slightly after the commencement of their set). We were rewarded by a couple of powerful encore tunes, which it almost goes without saying sent everyone in attendance into an indescribably powerful rapture.

As Infected Mushroom left the stage, Outrage took control of the decks to deliver his headline drum n’ bass set. I didn’t know exactly what to expect from his performance, having never been exposed to his talents prior to this event. As his name suggests, Outrage pummeled his audience (which had not shrunk by much following Infected’s departure) with a selection of industrial strength tech-step (or was it hard-step?). Whilst I enjoyed his set, I felt that his style of drum n’ bass lacked the kind of percussive power necessary for keeping a crowd going after what had been a high octane performance by another headliner.

Shortly after 3am, the music stopped and we were all told to leave. Shock! Horror! Excuse me, did I hear right? I could not believe it. Even at this late stage, there were still plenty of punters left to warrant a continuation of the party, but Metro City thought otherwise. Perhaps the fact that liquor cannot be sold after 2am on the morning of a public holiday had something to do with this decision, but either way many of us wanted to continue dancing until 6am and beyond. Feeling just a little bit aggrieved, we departed Metro City in complete wee-hour darkness.

Immediately after Virus my friends asked me how the Infected Mushroom performance was… My jaw hit the floor as I reflected upon the show, with words failing me. All I could say in reply was, “wow, that was an experience.” And I had well and truly “experienced” Infected Mushroom. As for the Virus as a whole, it would have been nice if we could have kept on dancing until six in the morning, but aside from that I liked the idea behind combining such a huge array of different musical styles into the one event. Drum n’ bass fans who attended might never have heard of Infected Mushroom beforehand, and vice versa for all the other genre fans there. Every promoter – and there were several of them – deserves commendation for staging such a tremendous event that every attendee, including yours truly, will surely remember for years to come.

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ragic88 said on the 15th Mar, 2008

pity it was the same day as future