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Monday, October 4, 2010

Saturday: Shpongle and Infected Mushroom Keep LoveFest Alive

Posted By on Mon, Oct 4, 2010 at 3:19 AM

click to enlarge Shpongle with dancers
  • Shpongle with dancers
Infected Mushroom 
October 2, 2010 
@ The Warfield

Better than: Ego death, K-holes and Pillgrimages.

Attacks against rave culture and convoluted bureacracy may have stopped Lovevolution 2010, but that didn't prevent San Francisco's enormous raver population from taking over the city on Saturday. All day long, locations like Dolores Park, Crissy Field, and 525 Harrison were overrun with more glow sticks, candy, and free love than a Twin Oaks kindergarten field trip to Q-Zar. But the main event of Saturday for music geeks and teeth clenchers alike was at the Warfield, where two electronic trailblazers had prepared five hours of hammering trance and free-flowing psybient.

Outside the venue: Market street became an unofficial psychedelic flea market. "Acid, come get your acid! Shrooms, Molly, anything you need!"

Shpongle: Who says the hippie movement is dead? If The Warfield was any indication, the spirit of summer 1967 lives on in the hearts of Simon Posford fans everywhere. Reactions to his DJ set with dancers included first-time witnesses nearly crying, and longtime fans declaring their intention to get a tattoo in memory of the night. Strangers hugged, dancers smiled at one another, and everyone seemed to exude infinitely positive energy. The set was dominated by songs from Ineffable Mysteries from Shpongleland, but the biggest hits with the crowd were definitely the celebratory world music-electronic fusions of older hits like "Dorset Perception", Levitation Nation, and "My Head Feels Like A Frisbee." (Try repeating these song titles to your friends without sounding and feeling completely ridiculous). The lack of an appearance by Raja Ram was certainly a disappointment, but Saturday's live dancers were hypnotizing and beautiful enough to make most of us forget to notice.

click to enlarge im.jpg

Infected Mushroom: In contrast to the cuddle puddle that evolved in Shpongleland, Infected Mushroom turned the dance floor into a trampoline. Crowd surfing, mosh pits, and aggressive stomping spread through the audience like syphilis -- starting just with the strangest, shadiest looking people and moving through the crowd into the more "normal"-looking crowd members (who were, in the case of this event, the minority). A minute into its set, it seemed everyone had been infected by this Israeli electro-rock quartet. The band members could have summoned the crowd into a citywide riot if they wanted to, with their rapid fire build ups, breakdowns, and heavy metal guitar solos.

Number of people wearing yarmulkes for Infected Mushroom's set: five

Hallucinogen DJ Set: After the army of Israeli industrial fans turned the pit into a battleground for 90 minutes, everyone seemed to need a break. As Simon Posford returned to the stage, the lobbies of the Warfield became chillout lounges for the rolling and the tripping. Once-strangers had become best friends through the dance floor, and were now exchanging chemical-induced marathons of words. Meanwhile, in the main room, Simon Posford lived up to his solo DJ name, Hallucinogen, by making some of the most absurdly trippy and deranged digital noises possible. It's a shame that most people missed it while recovering from the insanity of the previous set.

What exiting the show looked like: That scene from Night of The Living Dead. People stumbled out of the venue with a disoriented, "What do I do now?" look on their faces. Pummeling electronics and various mind-altering chemicals had fried the audience's collective brain into cotton candy for the rest of the night. The Warfield staff appeared to be genuinely frustrated at the nearly impossible task of trying to get a crowd whose eyes were as wide as planets but empty as balloons out of the building. It was like watching dogs herding sheep.

Personal Bias: My inner hippie finds the idealism, friendliness and general artsy weirdness of this scene to be infinitely awesome.

Number of Cute Animal Backpacks counted: 27

Best Mask: For anyone who's ever actually wished they had eyes in the back of their head. Standing behind this girl in line at the bar was the creepiest thing ever:

click to enlarge strange.jpg

Overheard in the Crowd: "The world is made of sinners and that is what my father told me!" Uttered loudly by the most religious looking Israeli man (and seemingly also the biggest Infected Mushroom fan) in the crowd.

Sound: Relentless. Especially for the closing Infected Mushroom DJ Set. You could employ psytrance as a form of torture; just play it in front of someone at maximum volume and bass for days until they break.

Speaking of psytrance: After of attending countless of these sorts of shows and interviewing those who go to them, you eventually come to the conclusion that the more psychedelics you take, the more you enjoy psytrance, and by the time you love all psytrance, know most of the major artists from front to back, and go to all the shows, you've become completely and utterly insane.

Saturday's Lineup:
8:00 Liam Shy - DJ set
9:00 Dissolve - Live
10:00 Shpongle - DJ set (with dance performance)
11:30 Infected Mushroom - Live
12:45 Hallucinogen - DJ Set (with Rob Rayle)
1:45 Infected Mushroom - DJ set

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Aron Fischer


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