Before seeing the band’s set, I was rather surprised to see a long line of students waiting to see an Israeli trance duo named after an afflicted fungus wrapped around the UCen. Last Wednesday evening in the Hub, Infected Mushroom captivated the attention of its sold-out show, its second show at UCSB in the last year. The combination of the last week before midterms plus a dash of early-quarter energy led to the intense energy within the show.
The basic premise of the show seemed to be that it was a miniature rave, although oddly enough, it was the school-sponsored people who were dressed in the most outlandish outfits this side of Electric Daisy Carnival (knee-high boots covered in what appeared to be red and white shag carpeting were not out of place in the slightest).
These individuals danced in a manner that suggested that maybe this wasn’t the soberest Wednesday night they had ever spent on campus.
Infected Mushroom did not disappoint. With tightly-wound grooves working their way in and out of intense walls of beats and sound, members of the crowd didn’t so much respond to each individual song as move as an extension of the duo onstage. The audience bridged the breaks between songs with beats low-key enough that you could finally hear yourself think (and applaud), as it readied itself for another sonic assault that left the audience dancing and shaking like a bowl full of Jell-O set on top of an overactive washing machine.
For my part, I wasn’t able to positively identify any songs besides its encore (“Becoming Insane”), but I don’t think that that was really the point. To see Infected Mushroom is to experience Infected Mushroom, and not to worry about whether or not you heard your favorite track off I’m the Supervisor. The entire show was organized around the fact that while people do like them and are fans of specific songs, you can dance about equally as well and with similar moves to pretty much any of the band’s tracks, so layering them on thickly without taking breaks for stage banter (or even to take a drink of water) is less important than spending an hour trancing the audience members’ faces off until they beg for mercy.
True to form, Infected Mushroom did not say more than roughly 10 words to the crowd the entire night, instead focusing entirely on laying down intense base.
Also, it helps when about 65 percent of the people watching you perform are tripping balls and would probably dance to the sound of two rocks being banged together by a group of crazed chimps on a caffeine high. Still, the energy of the show was undeniable, and I found myself entertained and having a good time dancing without the help of any drugs whatsoever, so it’s not as though there was some sort of minimum requirement for enjoying the music.
Still, judging by the pupils of most of the people I saw in line, there may as well have been.