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upcoming : |FAT| Arts & Fashion Week 2014

Tuesday, April 15th, 2014

Toronto ON, April 22-26 - |FAT| or Toronto Arts & Fashion Week is next week! Auxiliary has been attending this fashion week for many years and it always has a very strong showing of alternative and subculture designers making it one of the best runway events for alternative fashion in North America. It is an incredible five nights of over 45 runway shows, photography exhibits, art installations, theatrical performances, and fashion films that are set to inspire and awe.

This year many Auxiliary featured designers, stylists, and models will be contributing their talents to this awesome fashion week. If you’re near Toronto don’t miss this event! Auxiliary Magazine will be attending so look out for us! And look out for coverage of the event on our website and in our fashion issue!

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Left, Auxiliary Spotlight Designer Artifice Clothing. Right, With Love Lingerie Auxiliary featured designer.

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Left, Candydrip as seen in Auxiliary Magazine. Right, VANIKA.

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Left, Auxiliary PinUp and cover model Kelleth in Auxiliary Spotlight Designer Starkers Corsetry. Right, Auxiliary featured designer House of Etiquette.

- Jennifer Link






in attendance : Skinny Puppy – Live Shapes for Arms Tour

Thursday, February 20th, 2014

Toronto ON, February 18 – When I interviewed Ogre and cEvin Key for the June/July 2013 Issue,  it was clear to me they were very excited about touring and coming home to Canada for a few shows in the not so distant future. The enthusiasm expressed in the interview culminated into a perfect show for Skinny Puppy when they took to the stage, in force with full frontal stagecraft at Toronto’s Sound Academy on their Live Shapes for Arms tour.

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It seemed to be the  industrial social event of the year as Sound Academy packed with fans from far and wide on a Tuesday “school” night.  But as the industrial titans graced the stage with larger than life video artistry and fitting macabre costume changes, the stage became a living organism of everything we love about Skinny Puppy.

Ogre’s theatrics were a thrill, but for me the real pleasure was in the crystal clear Sound Academy system that layered the music beautifully and played on cEvin’s master craft at the keyboard. There were even some interesting shades of his skill with elements of Download and even little bits of influence from his recent but brilliant Dubcon project in the interplay between set list selections that drew from a balanced Skinny Puppy repertoire, both old and new.

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Skinny Puppy is one of those bands that rarely breaks character. However, for the latter half of the Toronto show Ogre dropped the masks, costumes, and theatrics, coming out as just Ogre, the man, to engage with the audience in sincere and appreciative showmanship. When I talked to Ogre in the summer it was clear to me that he has a deep and spiritual appreciation for the support of Skinny Puppy over the years, and he showed this by touching the audience with a brilliant and rare personal performance, sans the blood and doom.

Both men, cEvin and Ogre, now into their fifties and exceedingly good looking as they age, brought a youthful energy and emotive performance. Reliable sources who had also attended the Montreal show days before reported similar observations and the only downside is the show was it had to end, leaving us wanting more Skinny Puppy, of yore and the future!

- Hangedman






in attendance : Assemblage 23 and Glenn Love at The Opera House

Sunday, February 16th, 2014

Toronto ON, February 1 – On their first tour date of 2014, Assemblage 23 played at The Opera House and Glenn Love provided an opening set. A23 frontman Tom Shear has been busy with different projects, one being recently contributing lyrics and vocals to the track “Society of Dogs” on iVardensphere’s The Methuselah Tree. This particular tour bears no particular title, nor is it in support of any new A23 album (though side project Surveillance will release the successfully crowd-funded album Oceania very soon), but it easily brought out a full house of attendees even in the midst of a blizzard. Assemblage 23 will continue touring and are heading to Europe next. When the stage was not otherwise occupied, DJ Lazarus provided a steady supply of beats.

Assemblage 23 on stage

Opening industrial/dark electronic act Glenn Love had an incredible time. It was great to see not only a robust attendance for the event overall, but a big group arriving in time to enjoy his set (I was delayed by a streetcar’s mechanical breakdown, and I was not alone in such troubles). In January, Glenn released two new singles, “(R)Age Electric” and “At My Door”, which will be included in an upcoming EP. Dyno Mike and Dann Hines helped to work the electronics, freeing up Glenn to fully engage in the dynamic stage performance style that has become his trademark.

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After an intermission set by DJ Lazarus, Assemblage 23 brought their signature EBM/industrial sound to the stage. The A23 set provided a nice spread of different songs from different albums, keeping the energy level up and keeping people dancing. It was remarkable how they handled the encore: while many bands traditionally walk off the stage and wait for the crowd to loudly urge them back to their instruments, A23 made a point of simply asking whether people wanted to hear more, then giving the crowd what they wanted.

Tom Shear of Assemblage 23

photos : Dylan Madeley

See more photos from this event at www.flickr.com/photos/dylerpillar.

- Dylan Madeley






in attendance : Random Order Album Release Party

Thursday, February 13th, 2014

Toronto ON, January 30 - The release party for Random Order’s new album, Black Lipstick Kiss, took place at the Virgin Mobile MOD Club in Toronto. The headlining band performed their new album from start to finish and sets were also performed by Toronto bands Tremor and Amy’s Arms. Random Order plays a thoroughly danceable blend of styles including alternative rock, ska, and reggae. They bookended the night, beginning with two songs recorded for television in advance of Amy’s Arms’ set, and finishing the night with a full set.

Random Order

The next band to take the stage was Amy’s Arms, a goth rock band who recently concluded an Indiegogo fundraiser campaign for a new album. Amy’s Arms has been around in various incarnations for seven years, and they showcased the lineup that one should expect to see on their Spring 2014 tour with David J. of Bauhaus fame. It looks and sounds like they have all the pieces put together: Christopher Park kept the time behind the kit, his first outing with the band.

Amy's Arms

Tremor was the next band to play. Their Fender-driven indie rock shifted the sonic landscape once again, though all the bands this evening did indeed sound refreshingly different from each other, catering to an array of tastes. This band reminded me of 70s guitarists who were influenced by blues and folk.

Tremor

After those sets, Random Order returned. They had not lost any energy in between their two-song opener and their return, and quite a lot of ska pit dancing was to be seen in the crowd. They also added something extra to their performance by inviting skillful dance act House of Shimmy to join them on stage for a couple of songs.

Random Order with House of Shimmy

House of Shimmy

photos : Dylan Madeley

See more photos from this event at www.flickr.com/photos/dylerpillar.

- Dylan Madeley






in attendance : New York Comic Con

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

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New York NY, October 10-13 - The 8th annual New York Comic Con took place at the Jacob K. Javits Center in Manhattan, New York. Over the course of four days, October 10th to the 13th, the multi-genre convention drew in crowds over 130,000 from around the world, easily-matching the world-famous Comic Con International: San Diego (aka San Diego Comic Con). Cosplayers came out in force, bringing their A-game to the largest convention dedicated to science fiction, pop culture, and comic books on the East Coast. Mixed among those numbers also were fans out to see their favorite celebrities and panels centered on TV shows and movies, as well as comic industry panels on Thursday night.

Numerous TV shows debuted their pilot episodes and season premieres at the convention, including Fox’s much-anticipated Almost Human, starring Karl Urban, as well as the CW’s Beauty and the Beast and Reign, both of which were followed by a cast panel with the stars. The main panels everyone was waiting on for Saturday was, as per the norm, The Walking Dead, while Sunday was the panel for the new Fox series, Sleepy Hollow. Both panels were “question and answer” panels with numerous questions by female fans directed at Norman Reedus (Darryl Dixon) and Tom Mison (Ichabod Crane).

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photos : Knightmare6

- Knightmare6






in attendance : Codex 2 Festival

Saturday, October 26th, 2013

Quebec City QC, Sept 13 – 15 – This was the little festival that could, small in scope but big in performance and quality. Codex serves the underground of EDM focusing on electronic sub genres such as rhythmic noise, drum and bass, atmospheric IDM, and minimal techno.

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Quebec city with it’s 17th and 18th century Marschel Vauban fortress configuration, historical ghosts, and stunningly beautiful architecture is one of North America’s most charming gems, and possibly one of it’s best kept secrets. As a back drop for the dark modern beats of the festival, it was a perfect and somewhat eerie contrast.

This year’s festival was an Upper meets Lower Canada event, with most of the “international” artists hailing from Ontario Canada. Combined with a solid gathering of local Quebec artists and DJs it was a pure celebration of music in a tight knit group of subculture artists that transcend borders.

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The most notable high for this festival was the quality of venue and sound. In particular the Le Cercle venue was not only aesthetically impressive but the sound quality was superb. Every layer of each artists carefully crafted pieces were clearly audible, and immersive. The video art accompaniment from Toronto’s Dusx on large visible screens, smoke, lights in a clean, spacious, modern setting with crystal clear sound was a major win for this festival. Electronic music delivered with the precision of this line-up demanded nothing less, and festival organizers clearly made sure that the audience was getting the best sound and visual inspiration the ticket could buy. Even the smaller secondary venue L’Agitée had sound better than most clubs of it’s size.

Headliner Orphx, hailing from Hamilton, Ontario was the highlight act, delighting ears with their signature sinister techno sound. It was nice to see an underground techno artist as the headline in a festival that covers a multitude of genres that sometimes contrast each other dramatically. In a similar vein, Toronto’s Displacer delivered perhaps the performance of his career, turning his usual chill and serene beats into a darker, harsher, and strangely uplifting auditory experience. Local newcomer Mod Beat drifted gracefully in a tech set that ever so slightly touched into a psytrance realm. Also local Michel Plamandon was superb. I didn’t manage to catch Montreal’s E1000 set but reports from peers indicate it was a stellar set. Last but not least, Toronto’s S:Cage finished the night in a dark, droney set that escalated slowly into harsh beats and noise-like elements.

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Friday’s focus was a contrasting evening of noise and drum and bass. Toronto DJ Saucy Miso mixed both genres elegantly interspersing heavy jungle cadence with IDM breaks and noise stomp. This was a great prelude to Toronto’s CompUterus, the evening’s headliner lending their unique brand of industrial noise to the dance floor. Finishing the evening, Jonah K returned to his drum and bass roots with a spectacular set complimented the excellent sound quality of the venue.

Unfortunately we had to miss Sunday’s all local outdoor Quebec DJ event at Place Université du Québec. However, overall Codex remains an important festival showcase. While not one of North America’s bigger festivals, it is unique in it being a showcase of some truly amazing talent in musical styles that remain on the avant-garde fringe of electronic dance music.

photos : Mark Edwards

- Hangedman






in attendance : Artoffact Records Showcase

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013

Toronto ON, June 27Artoffact Records of Toronto, Canada has a number of fantastic artists on their roster, some new, some old and the opportunity to bring some of them together presented itself in June of 2013. The core of the night was local Ontario artists including label veteran Prospero and Encephalon, as well as one half of newly minted Volt 9000. (The other half is Portland, Oregon. Put a bird on it!) But the headliner and the band that wowed us all was the Icelandic synthpop band Legend, who stopped in Toronto on their way to the acclaimed Terminus Festival in Calgary, Alberta.

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Prospero live at the Artoffact Records Showcase. Prospero has recently focused on mixing electronics with traditional and unusual acoustics. 

It’s funny I’m reviewing this because I had the unique perspective of being a music fan enjoying some amazing acts, but also on stage with Prospero as part of his stage show. Prospero’s music has taken a turn towards tribal noise and with a variety of unique percussion instruments and a few tracks with bagpipes. There’s also, more than ever a nod to vocals in Prospero’s music with a handful of songs written by me, Hangedman and making a debut at the showcase, adapted for the Prospero repitoire.

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Volt 9000 made there live performance debut at the showcase. This amazing new industrial band kept the tradition of musical protest statement by presenting in true industrial form an anti-Monsanto theme.

Newcomers to the Artoffact Label, Volt 9000 put on great performance. I was surprised to learn it was their first ever live show as they completely aced it. They’re style was amusingly irreverent and included a curious plexiglass box filled with disgusting looking rotting tomatoes which vocalist Cory Gorski sprayed with what looked like a toxic pesticide sprayer. Scribbled on the box was the words “Monsanto Foods”. They poured their anger out over this topic in some of the best new narrative industrial music I’ve heard in a while.

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Alis Alias of Encephalon augmented a truly great show with amazing visuals.

Encephalon has put on more than a few amazing Toronto shows in their day, but at the showcase they did it again. I always look forward to seeing their stage performance and this time we were treated with some really awesome background visuals. Encephalon has gone to the next level with their signature melodies and anthem-like sound. I highly recommend their latest album The Transhuman Condition.

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Krummi of Legend cast a complete spell over the audience with his incredible vocal talent.

The act that took the night was Iceland’s Legend. Club Neutral in Toronto has seen some outstanding performances over the years but the energy and unbelievable sound of Legend was really special. In their debut North American appearance Legend treated us to a show to remember and people left talking excitedly about these guys, many wishing they could make the trip to Calgary’s Terminus Festival to see them again!

I also want to add how great the guys from Artoffact are as well. They put on a great show. These mini-fests with multiple live acts, each with their own technology and performance needs are no small feat. Planning and coordination to pack it all into one night is a tough job. As a bonus Artoffact also made this show very accessible on the wallet which included a copy of one of the bands discs with every ticket. This represented a great deal for fans who love live music. We thank you Artoffact and we hope that  you do this again next year.

photos & video : Adrian Onsen

- Hangedman






in attendance : Kinetik Festival 5.5 2013 – day 4 in photos

Saturday, July 20th, 2013

Montreal QC, May 26

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photos : Chris Christian






in attendance : Kinetik Festival 5.5 2013 – day 3 in photos

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Montreal QC, May 25

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photos : Chris Christian






in attendance : The Steampunk World’s Fair 2013

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Steampunk World's Fair 2013

Piscataway NJ, May 17-19 - For the fourth year in a row, Piscataway, NJ, has been the home of the Steampunk World’s Fair in May, and this year the changes were quite evident. This year saw in increase of families attending the three-day faire, which now emconpasses two hotels, the Radisson Hotel and the Embassy Suites, both next door to one another. The faire continues to grow with attendees, as this year there was not one, not two, but five overflow hotels for the attendees. Also different this year, was the inclusion of a gigantic tent this year in the parking lot between the two hotels which housed an outdoor stage set up by Circuit Six Productions, which would be packed for most of the event as performers, such as Voltaire and Steam Powered Giraffe drew in large crowds.

Steampunk World's Fair 2013

Events at the Steampunk World’s Fair included burlesque acts from The White Elephant Burlesque Society, a costume walk-off, discussion panels, book readings, musical performances by acts such as Ego Likeness, Frenchy, and the Punk, and even the faire’s own organizer: Jeff Mach. There was also fire performances by Hubris, the annual fashion show, absinthe tastings hosted by the different artists throughout the weekend, as well as family-friendly workshops, in case you found a moment of free time.

The fashion show on Sunday featured new designs from MayFaire Moon, Utopia Armoury, Unique Boutique, Gothic Fae, and ended with Kristin Costa’s “Joan of Arc” line, originally premiered at New York Fashion Week this past February.

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MayFarie Moon

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Unique Boutique

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Utopoia Armoury

photos : Knightmare6

- Knightmare6






in attendance : Kinetik Festival 5.5 2013 – day 2 in photos

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Montreal QC, May 24

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photos : Chris Christian






in attendance : Salon Noir The Devil’s Cabaret with Sex Gang Children

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Toronto ON, June 2 – The fifth major instalment of Salon Noir continued a tradition of presenting goth legends in the intimate dinner-and-cabaret setting of Lula Lounge. The previous instalments brought in Voltaire, The Deadfly Ensemble, David J (Bauhaus, Love & Rockets), and Jarboe (Swans), in that order, but there’s always more to each Salon Noir than its closer. There are always vendors in the front room, a variety of different acts on and off the stage, great sound quality from the speaker system, and Lula’s upscale Latin American menu for the dinner crowd.

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Those who arrived early enough for dinner were rewarded with a roaming belly dance show from the captivating Maddie Bolek.

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The first stage act of the evening was Toronto’s fierce glam group The Scarlet Fever. They gathered a good crowd for themselves and got people dancing with the type of high-energy show they are known for.

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The next act was a classy Burlesque set from Miz Margo, one of two Burlesque performers that evening. The way the evening was organized, the crowd never got back-to-back similar types of performance; dancers were separated by a different show in between, and band sets had three acts separating them. That helped keep things fresh.

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The Mental Floss Sideshow was a highly comical sketch. The bed-of-nails trick and other displays act as a framework for hilarious banter between the performers.

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Coco Framboise’s Burlesque act left people wanting more, so she extended the set to much applause.

And the last stage performance of the evening came from Sex Gang Children (see the interview in the June/July 2013 Issue), who were joined by Toronto musician Justin David Minister on bass.

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They immediately had themselves a crowd from the stage-front to the back of the pit, and watching from the slightly elevated dining levels to the left and right. The reviews of SGC’s set at Treffen were favorable, adding more anticipation to this long-awaited return to Toronto.

There was a great feeling in Lula that day, made better by the Sex Gang Children set. It didn’t seem like the crowd could get enough, so the Children went for an extended encore.

Every act was spot-on that evening, making for the best Salon Noir to date. Following this up seems like a challenging prospect, but one the organizers are already working on.

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view the full photoset : www.flickr.com/photos/dylerpillar/sets/72157633918263010
photos : Dylan Madeley

- Dylan Madeley






in attendance : Desert Daze

Friday, May 31st, 2013

Desert Daze

Mecca CA, April 20-21 – Reverb, feedback, and a sea of color against a desolate backdrop of the Coachella Valley nestled by the acrid shores of the Salton Sea; this is Desert Daze.

The music festival, held April 20-21, featured a lineup of psychedelic acts from all over the world, some traveling from as as far as Mali. The fest boasted three stages in a small area and had an uncanny “anti-Coachella” feel. A handful of vendors were scattered around selling T-shirts, jewelry, and all things DIY. The sound penetrated the area while festival-goers milled about haphazard art installations that were “inventive” at best.

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Event organizers, Moon Block Party, put together a stellar lineup for the festival held April 20th. Given that Coachella was only a few miles away on the same weekend, they did encounter some challenges. The space was not exactly packed and lacked a energy. Possibly due to the blistering heat, putrid odor from the “sea”, and mosquitoes devouring peoples’ flesh.

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Despite the less-than-ideal venue, the bands put on kick-ass sets.

The daytime acts featured a variety of bands that veered more toward lighter bands. Many had a punk sound woven into their music. Others had catchy melodies that got people on the floor.

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The Cosmonauts

Such was the case with the Cosmonauts. The band highlights a group of four OC-raised guys with a strong local following. They stopped by the festival before setting out for a two-month US tour. Their punk-psych sound coupled with an amalgam of hodgepodge aesthetic aggressively catch the eye and demand people to listen.

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The Cosmonauts

They described their music as a “release of energy” and fueled by “suburban angst”.

The night drew out the crowds, after being subjugated to their tents to escape the heat. The mood of the music changed, shifting toward more moody, ethereal acts like Chelsea Wolfe, Warpaint, and the Lumerians.

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Chelsea Wolfe

LA-based act, Chelsea Wolfe. She was decked out in all black and rocked a pair of Margiela boots with a cloven toe and clear heel. Her set was a beautifully epic, haunting cacophony. “I love the juxtaposition of beautiful and horrible things in life, I search for truth… I like my music to have a cinematic vibe,” Wolfe said. Her presence had a Mazzy star-esque vibe to it, with an edge. She kept a low profile and seemed to get into the moodiness of her art.

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Lumerians

Another band that set the tone for the night was the Lumerians. The band featured heavy baselines, eerie loops, and percussion breakdowns.

The show had the potential to tank, but the talent saved the day. The bands put on a hell of a show that made up for the logistical issues or the stink shores of the Salton Sea and its blood-sucking residents.

- Jessica Jewell






in attendance : Kinetik Festival 5.5

Thursday, May 30th, 2013

Montreal QC, May 23-26 - It’s time once again to stow the earplugs, apply shoe glue to your big stompy boots, and take stock of another Kinetik Festival, Montreal’s 6 year old premium industrial electro music festival. This year I was very selective in the bands I partook, but I managed to get swept into the electric current of the event, enough to connect with old friends, enjoy some truly outstanding acts, and catch the awesome vibe.

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Life Cried live at Kinetik 5.5. The new smaller venue made for delightfully intimate performances. 

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2013’s festival was an interesting experiment with scaling down, but not necessarily scaling back the scope, or quality of the four phase event. This translated into a smaller venue, The Belmont, closer to the West of downtown, as opposed to the traditional, grittier stomping grounds in the city core.

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Happy faces in close quarters combined with world class industrial performances!

We went into this year with clear warnings that 5.5 was scaled down (hence the .5 moniker) so in all fairness, the beacon was clearly lit. In previous years the luxurious venues of Usine C and Metropolis facilitated more of a convention-like atmosphere, allowing for a strong social culture to establish with lounge areas, vendors, and well-lit free flow movement. So for those who really enjoy this aspect of Kinetik’s unique culture, there was perhaps some disappointment. On the other hand, satellite events such as Plastik Wrap’s weekend long Bazaar of the Bizarre alt marketplace and the numerous and ubiquitous, ever popular after party, filled this void sufficiently for me and while I can understand the concern, I don’t think it’s entirely warranted given the clear communication by festival PR long before the festival even started.

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Toronto’s Displacer. Kinetik is known for covering the spectrum of subculture electronic music from IDM to industrial electro to power noise and more.

Let’s face it, Kinetik is a “music” festival, so those coming for the social fashion show are missing the core point. The Belmont served the music purpose well. For me, I admit it did take some adjusting from the expectations built from former years, but I was pleasantly surprised at the true “underground” feeling of the venue. It made for some really intimate performances, which I believe, was a nice change from the big stages of the past. And yes, the room was packed, especially during phase 2 with popular headliner Suicide Commando, but at no point was mobility completely encumbered. If you take the fact the festival dropped fair warning with an excellent price point for the quality of the line-up, this was a very good event. The room had some sweet sound spots, visibility was relatively decent, even from the back, and there was a cozy “pub” area to escape to if you needed a break. In my opinion, if you were coming for the music this was pure fun and well worth it.

Shifty Dave's dubious sheep, Kinetik's unofficial mascot

Shifty Dave’s dubious sheep returns, Kinetik’s unofficial mascot, popular among acts and festival goers alike. This time, with FGFC820′s Rexx Arcana!

But in another light, over the years, one of the great things about Kinetik has been the grassroots atmosphere. This festival has never lost that feeling, whilst it has grown in stature and influence, rising to become one of the flagships of the North American industrial festival circuit. This can be attributed to organizer Jean-François, a man who carefully retains operational control of the festival, working tirelessly year after year (sometimes thanklessly) to produce it. In previous years the stress and logistical concern of such a beast has been apparent. However, with 5.5 being parsed down, an equilibrium seems to have been found. I had a brief handshake with Jean-François during phase 3 and it was nice to see him considerably less stressed, in the crowd, enjoying the show. It just seems so right for a festival commander to be enjoying the fruits of his labor. His entire crew was bubbly and energized and we all know, happy organizers hopefully means everyone wins and more festivals in the future!

As a music fan, that’s what I want and I’m really looking forward to how next year will develop. I have to give Kinetik 2013 and all those involved with putting it together the highest of marks within the context of the scaled back experiment. You guys did a fantastic job! I got what I wanted which was great music, fantastic performances, and lots of smiley moments.

photos : Adrian Onsen

- Hangedman