After managing to find a park on King Street (what the fuck), my mate and I were off to the Royal Melbourne Hotel to see one of the most successful psytrance acts of all time, Infected Mushroom. Formed in 1996 by producers Erez Eisen and Amit Duvdevan, the Israeli group over nearly two decades have released 9 full length albums, consistently innovative in nature and very much at the heart of modern electronic music. Interestingly enough, the guys are currently touring Australia as a live band. The re-creation of their music in this way is impressive; not only because it moves away from the boring ‘two guys on a laptop’ style of performance that most producers seem to be going for, but because they are able to accurately reproduce extremely complicated and fast-paced tracks on actual instruments.
The set list drew mostly from the last 3 or 4 albums, including ‘Rise Up’ from Friends on Mushrooms, ‘Nothing to Say’ and one of my favourite tracks of theirs ‘U R So Fucked’. The band itself consisted of a drummer on an electronic kit, a guitarist who contributed chunky riffs and solos where much of the metal/rock influences came through, Erez on a keyboard and Amit on vocals. Erez felt like the mastermind of the music as he smashed out glitchy lines and directed the flow and pacing of the music; that sort of telekinetic thing where one guy is more or less the ‘conductor’ of the band. Amit provided a solid vocal performance while keeping things energetic and moving in the crowd. Having this more traditional band set-up not commonly found in live electronic music lent itself to the music becoming ‘rockier’ than on the albums, however this certainly did not take away from the performance but rather enhanced it. Combined with a chaotic light show and a multimedia background, there was no doubt the band were at their live best.
Further into the set, they managed to rework Beastie Boys’ ‘Sabotage’ into a full on drum and bass track which was pretty fucking cool, as was their cover of ‘The Pretender’ by Foo Fighters which featured on the 2012 record ‘Army of Mushrooms’. They finished up with an encore of probably their most famous track, ‘Converting Vegetarians’ which I’m pretty sure made the sweaty guy next to me cry. The power of music, huh?
In terms of electronic music, it’d be difficult to find many acts as exciting as Infected Mushroom. Their combination of sounds is crazy; metal, drum and bass, psytance, punk, dubstep, but they somehow make it work. It’s probably the 20 years of experience they have doing what they do. Yes, post-Rainbow depression is a thing, but after being that sweaty and exhausted again, Infected Mushroom very well may have cured it. If you’re in Cairns, Byron Bay or Perth the next few days, go and check them out.
Hometown: Kiryat Yam, Israel.
Latest LP: Friends On Mushrooms (Deluxe Edition), January 6th, 2015.
Sounds Like: Talamasca, Pendulum
Say what? Since the late 90s, Infected Mushroom have played an average of something like 140 shows a year.
Deaf, cold and drunk, Leo signing off.