If you’ve read my meagre ramblings about ArcTanGent festival now, you might know that it’s the third incarnation of this beast and also my third time there. What you might not know is I don’t get out to fields full of music much these days and this is the only festival I’ve been to since Supernormal in 2011 (which was also awesome by the way…). This is also the first year that I’ve had a proper press pass, thanks to the lovely Echoes and Dust.
The past two years were practically my perfect festival experience, summed up, basically three days of some very oddly beautiful music played by a right bunch of talented musicians and frequented by people there to listen, not (just) to get wasted and (in the overwhelmingly vast majority) not to behave like eedjits. Consequently, I was rather hopeful that this would be more of the same, but different none-the-less.
I was not disappointed in any way shape or form and while I may not personally have liked every band that played, I can certainly appreciate the talent, effort and energy put into each and every performance I saw over the weekend. Considering that I saw at least part of 45 bands’ sets at ArcTanGent this year, I figured that I’d split this up into a few posts so it didn’t get too much all at once…
Thursday: Returning Spectacles and Introducing Newcomers.
The Thursday at ATG is an extra, you’ll pay about a tenner extra to get in above the very reasonably priced weekend ticket. In my eyes, this is more than worth it. There was only a single stage running on the Thursday at the previous two ATGs, but this year a BBC Introducing stage was added in the smallest stage, so we had the PX3 stage with some new bands as well as Yokhai with favourites from previous years up and running from about 3pm onwards.
Alpha Male Tea Party – Yokhai
Seen this bunch of nutcases many times before, and will likely see them many times again. Fantastic catchy, mathy, energetic awesomeness with some of the best bass face in the world. Love these guys to bits. They’re also good friends with Cleft and played a rather awesome riff medley together as their set came to an end and Cleft’s set started. You can even watch it in all it’s rifftastic glory here!
Cleft – Yokhai
How do one guitarist and one drummer make this much awesome noise? Beats the life out of me, but I’m baffled in an entirely positive way. Brilliant band (and two of the nicest people you’ll meet to boot…).
Memory Of Elephants – BBC Introducing (PX3)
Not a band that I’d heard before, so they were a very pleasant discovery for me, leanings towards post rock in places and mathy in others, nice and heavy indeed. They share a bass player with Leg who I found out about afterwards and are also awesome.
Mylets – Yokhai
One from the venerable and excellent Sargent House label. One young guy and an awful lot of pedals, electronics and raw talent. I’m very much in two minds though, I really want to like it, it think the music is fantastic, innovative, clever and incredibly well put together. His voice , however, is a little too much for me. Absolutely incredible talent though.
Iran Iran – BBC Introducing (PX3)
These guys played last year at ATG, good to see them back as well. Complicated poly-rhythmic mathy goodness which comes across beautifully live.
Mutiny On The Bounty – Yokhai
One of the most energetic live bands I’ve ever seen. Saw them touring in Manchester earlier this year so I knew what to expect and wasn’t disappointed, they put on a fantastic show here as well. Instrumental, riffy math for those of you like that kind of thing.
Hysterical Injury – BBC Introducing (PX3)
Decribing themselves as alternative, grunge and noisepop, I’m genuinely not sure whether they are any of these things. They are a two piece consisting of bass, drums and vocal, and they do make a mighty and very entertaining noise. I really enjoyed their set. Some images from around the tent and general shenanigans in this lot as well…
LITE – Yokhai
Japanese, bubbly, enthusiastic, forward looking and exuberant math rock. A welcome return after last year’s performance, got the crowd bouncing in a welcome warm up for what was to come…
Oxygen Thief – BBC Introducing (PX3)
Played at the first ATG as a solo set with acoustic guitar, back this year as a full band, headlining the BBC Introducing stage to a fully packed and overflowing tent, much more raucous than the last time, somewhat more matured and eased into their material. A great performance.
65daysofstatic – Yokhai
65daysodstatic. What more can I say, they did what they do and they do it very well indeed. There were a couple of technical hitches in the set, and with the amount of electronics they employ, I’m surprised there weren’t more, any gaps were deftly and somewhat bizarrely filled by a politically charged tirade against the tory goverment. It seemed to go down OK though, and the music that surrounded their words was done with their usual aplomb. A great way to round off a fantastic start to another year of ArcTanGent.
So, the only band that I missed (at least all bar their last song) were AK/DK, I had to get some lunch at some point after all. They sounded fantastic from where I was eating my pizza anyhow, I just don’t have any photographic evidence… Do check them out though if you’re into two drummers and a boatload of home-made analogue synthy goodness. Excellent stuff all round really!