The mid-point of Incubate in 2015 began with a band who, instrumentally at least, share an idea with Royal Blood. Youff are a drums and bass noise duo from Belgium and what they possibly currently lack in originality they more than make up for in energy. Although sparsely lit too the effective strobing amply shows up the speed at which the drummer has to hammer away at the kit to set the frenetic pace, his hands looking Wolverine-like as the light fires.
Old school Dutch grindcore in the shape of Kru$h came next at Little Devil. Bringing to mind such legends of the scene as Doom the dual-vocalled five piece growled and screeched their way through a set of tight, short numbers without a dancer in sight, ably showing up the differences in temperament between this and the hardcore audience despite the shared weight and pace of sound.
Over at Extase Beasts were tonight's third bit of entertainment. Only unfortunately they weren't that entertaining. The Metallica t-shirt was maybe a giveaway. Straightforward rock saw me make the second quickest decision and exit of the night. A walk back up the road to Hall Of Fame was in order for some more hardcore to hopefully invigorate the night but, although certainly loud, Vvovnds were curiously unengaging. True they were hampered by a mysterious crackling coming from the speakers but despite the battering they gave their instruments they seemed to just be going through the motions.
Three Trapped Tigers were tonight's opening act at Midi and were received well by a crowd who clearly knew who they'd come to see. Playing mostly new material they were a bit let down in the vocal department but otherwise were note-perfect and clearly happy to be back on a European jaunt after a few years away. Next door at Extase Spectres also had a bit of a vocal issue in the mix but their powerful, overdriven music more than made up for anything they were failing to convey by singing. A real tour de force.
Unlike Daggers who proved to be yet another loud but unengaging hardcore act. There's something a bit awry when such bands resemble hipsters until they take to the stage. Hard to take them seriously when that's the case. The UK was getting a lot of look ins tonight as next on the list were London's Yak, who as well as playing some very heavy & well paced indie had one of the better designed t-shirt images of the week so far. A trio who should hopefully be progressing steadily in the future.
Free jazz is a term bandied about a lot at Incubate & Dead Neanderthals are proponents of this inextricably linked to the event. What they mainly did at Midi was quality test the lifespan of a set of guitar strings when the insrument is battered, kicked, pounded and has all sorts of other physical abuse heaped upon it whilst a large sax is wailed away on and the drums thunder along. Fascinating like a car wreck and a good example of where jazz greys into hardcore but more theatre than music. Pretty self-indulgent too. Full Of Hell were perfoming sans Merzbow tonight so finally some absorbing hardcore was a possibility and they didn't fail to deliver this time around. As with the previous two acts at Hall Of Fame their singer took to the floor rather than confining himself to the stage, giving the early pit starters something else to avoid. "You guys sure like mayonnaise huh?" isn't maybe the greatest attempt at interaction with a crowd and at least one bloke seemed intent on being injured or causing the same when the pit got larger but the band were utterly convincing on all levels.
The bill at Dudok started quite late on tonight and first on it were the fun & laidback Jeff The Brotherhood. Top marks for actually having a good bit of chat with/for the audience and also obviously engaging with other elements of the festival. Their new album's out in October & from that they played 'Melting Place' as well as an unnamed track that, contrary to their more doomy paced songs, sounded not unlike some thing from an early Smashing Pumpkins album. They were so refreshing to watch in fact that I lost no time in going to catch the end of their set when Norway's Shining (not to be confused with Sweden's Shining) left me utterly cold at Midi. The least said about that experience the better.
Richie Dagger got to play at their own segment of the festival down in the Stadskelder and cranked out a nice line in Scandinavian-like garage rock, putting the seal on a really well curated few days that could easily have had a 3rd more bands of the consistent quality they'd programmed in. Rounding off the night was Sterling Roswell and his drone-heavy material over at Paradox. The accumulated experience of the man & his band was highly evident in their drawn out playing and ability to keep repeated phrases sounding as fresh as when first embarked upon. New song 'Ballad Of A Civil Servant', featuring such subject matter as David Cameron's brain being kept alive in a jar by US scientists, provided a light-hearted note of protest at the day's end.