All photos: Katherine Gaines
Poised in twin deathstar pods towering over the 9:30 Club’s stage, Erez Eisen and Amit Duvdevani tapped at laptops to kick off their night as smash Israeli trance group Infected Mushroom. The pods were white and served as both platform and projector screen for trippy images of twisting moss covered stone blocks, steampunk machinery, pulsating Tron-style edging and after an audible countdown a rocket ship blasting into a fiery space.
Infected Mushroom’s style evolved over more than a decade. They used some of the hollow, reverb-heavy high beats from their early years, but Friday’s performance was mostly composed of a newer, richer sound with much more variation. They operate on momentum, not utilizing much of the traditional trance tension/release formula. Even when there’s a quiet moment in their tracks, Mushroom keeps the level of detail and interesting sound high.
The audience were all ages, bodies wrapped in chemiluminsecent tubes, topped with permadyed neon hair, legs clad in rainbow clydesdale-style furry rave boots or vintage UFO parachute pants. There was a girl with an Indian headdress sprouting foot-high feathers. Also spotted were glitter-splattered tees, cheap party wayfarers, fuzzy bunny hats– you name it, it was out there. Infected Mushroom, behind all the rave and popular dance tracks, wants to be a rock and roll affair. Sampling long guitar solos (so solo-y they were to the point of being parodies of hair metal solos), gratuitous use of heavy reverbed back up vocals and a few metal-style breakdowns paired with the shiny electro-melody was an energetic fusion of the genres.
To the point, Amit Duvdevani, main singer on their recorded tracks, came out of his pod several times midway through the show to sing into a mic, traditional rock star style, dancing between pods and keeping the crowd’s energy up. I have to hand it to him for his energy level, dancing everywhere including focused, near-unsmiling Erez Eisen’s booth. His more effective performances were a spirited cover of “The Pretender” by the Foo Fighters and “Going Insane,” vocal-heavy songs that didn’t seem as silly to come down from the mighty projector pod to sing. Regardless of the song, the crowd packed in and danced it up, glowing by the light of projected fantasy world graphics.
Infected Mushroom took their opener DJ Randy Seidman all the way from LA to play at the 9:30 on Friday night. Seidman was a little self satisfied for my taste, every few seconds he smiled smug in knowing that yes, this is the best two hour electronic performance this crowd will ever see. He’d switch out CD after CD, pinching it and shaking it like he was waving flames away from the CDs because those tunes were hot shit. That said, his long mix of classic pull-and-release trance was solid. You don’t get to tour for five years with the likes of Infected Mushroom without being pretty good. He played a brand of tribal beats, constant bass and an occasional popular vocal line, like the chorus from the 2011 George Acosta hit “True Love.” His bass tonality was notable– you know that noise that tells you something is about to go wrong? As in, when thunder rumbles in the distance, or when in Paranormal Activity, a homicidal spirit is in the room? Take that noise, crunch it into a second-long loop and that is the bass the audience danced to on Seidman’s set. Titillating stuff, indeed. When he finished his set, the 9:30 erupted with as much cheering as any indie rock band to cross their stage.
- DJ Randy Seidman