For the uninitiated: Infected Mushroom was an Israeli psy-trance duo, much the way Pendulum was a drum n' bass DJ duo. Both groups added live instrumentation to the mix and started playing rock heavily influenced by their previous DJ experience. Both groups still go on DJ tours, but it's the live show you really need to see.
Infected Mushroom made Republic Live the Austin stop on their US tour, joined by locals Randy Seidman, DJ Exceed and Mike Cherches. So, without further ado, here's The Good, The Bad, and the Funny. Check the bottom of the post for a set of pictures, including a good one of the huge, creepy mushroom that was on stage!
The Good: Indie rock can be enjoyed in a dive bar with low production values, not so with electronic music. Republic Live was a perfect venue for the show. Crazy lighting and great sound made it easy to get lost in the show. Also the fact that it's not a massive venue makes for a better show. Big names often come through the doors of Republic Live, but they never feel far away or out of reach.
The crowd simply can't get away with standing around and checking their iPhones every five minutes. This is music made to move you and the performance and venue did their jobs admirably.
Infected Mushroom had a killer sound and tons of energy. The switch to live instrumentation makes for a much more visceral and interactive show. The crowd was singing along (this Examiner was hoarse the next day due to "Cities of the Future") and many, many X-marked fists were pumping in the air.
The Bad: There isn't much to complain about. The opening DJs were good, warming up for the face-melting to follow. The venue, promoters, and headliner kicked ass. But, since we all love to nitpick...
The video projection was a bit sub-par. A small screen off to the side of the stage provided the only visualization aside from the lighting. At a previous show, video was projected across the whole stage area to great effect. The over-the-top lighting and immense energy from Infected Mushroom made the small video projection unnecessary and maybe even a bit silly.
The Funny: At the back of the venue, there was a group of 4 nerdy-looking guys sitting down facing away from the stage. They didn't turn around once; they were content to enjoy the show (and their drug of choice) while staring at the wall. Tickets were $20, hope it was worth it.
Personal aside: My bartendress of choice was great; she got to me quickly, made strong drinks, and was apologetic about the wristband thing. She did have a darker side, however. While I was at the bar, a couple of d-bags ordered a few drinks. She served them and they handed her exact change, no tip. Now, it was very loud in the venue and I am not great at reading lips, but the words that came out of her mouth are not fit for printing anywhere ever. The venomous tirade of curse words streaming from her lips was legendary. I was so impressed/afraid/turned on that I covered their tip; it was definitely $5 worth of entertainment.
Oh yes, the mushroom. Off to the side of the stage was a very large area covered by a tarp. I asked the security guy if I could take pictures from just off-stage, near the tarped area. He told me that there would be a giant inflatable mushroom there momentarily, and that it probably wasn't a good idea. He was right. As Infected Mushroom took the stage, the tarp was pulled and a huge, angry mushroom started to take shape. And there it was: a frickin' giant mushroom. It wasn't particularly well-lit and it didn't do anything in particular. It sat there, blocking part of the view, looking menacing. I loved it.
Many thanks to NightCulure for the invite and for putting on a kick-ass show. If you're still hesitant about the whole electronic music thing, go to one of their events. You'll be dancing and having a blast within minutes.