ArcTanGent Festival 2017 : Review

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Photo Credit : Helen Messenger

Now in its fifth year, ArcTanGent Festival has well and truly cemented itself as the best festival in the UK for experimental music and this year was no exception, arriving to a sunny Fernhill Farm we set up camp as quickly as we could before checking out our first band of the weekend. The fantastically fun Bearded Youth Quest never fail to disappoint. Their happiness is infectious and it’s not long before everyone’s having a great time bouncing around to their party prog riffs.

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Photo Credit : Ed Sprake

Up next were Chiyoda Ku who confidently took to the stage with their clever twists and turns showing a sense of songwriting mature beyond their years. With a new album due in October these guys deserve to keep playing bigger and better shows.

French post screamo band Fall of Messiah play to a rammed tent which left us out back to listen in the sun which was actually pretty perfect considering that the festival is normally hit with the worst rain imaginable each year. Gallops are a party band and unfortunately it still felt a little too early in the day to properly get into party mode but with that aside the band still played a blinder with their live electronic elements and tight as f*ck drums. HECK played their last ever show at ATG this year, no one really knows why but there are a lot of people there to witness the mayhem one last time and that pretty much sums up their short lived career, nothing short of MENTAL. We find ourselves not knowing where to look as the band disappear off into the crowd!

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Photo Credit : Helen Messenger

Future of the left are always an enjoyable live act with Falko’s razor sharp lyrics and pummeling riffs taking command of the tent as they played through a mix of their back catalogue and a few Mclusky bangers too which get everyone singing along. Thursday headliners Russian Circles are one of my favourite bands so it was amazing to see them return to ATG this year, they always seem to make it feel like the world is about to end but that you’d at least feel safe and comforted by their music so it just wouldn’t matter anyway! Playing a range of songs from across their career this band can do no wrong. Closing with “Death Rides a Horse” it’s a perfect ending to a perfect day!

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Photo Credit : Nick Sayers

Friday morning meant tough decisions had to be made between Cardiffs Right Hand Left Hand and Bristols Hoggs Bison, in the end it was the Bristol boys who helped nurse my hangover with their laid back, hypnotic grooves, their debut album comes out soon and i can’t wait for it. Another clash next but having seen Gilmore Trail very recently meant catching a song and opting to see Bristol based Madilan who were dressed in girls clothes with taped nipples, definitely weird music by weird boys but the good kind of weird you’d expect from ATG.

Over on the Arc Alpha Male Tea Party play to one of the biggest crowds of the weekend so far, it’s amazing how far this band have come and their new album Health is a big part of that reason, they are a band that just spew out infectious riffs constantly, it was also an honour to be asked to be a part of their choir for their last song, “No More”

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Photo Credit : Ed Sprake

Frontierer were one of my must see bands, brutal music made by a bunch of guys that have only ever met a few times in real life, they didn’t disappoint as they pummelled the crowd with some of the most technically insane math-core of the weekend. The Number 12 looks like you, keep the heavy up next with their technical hardcore at its finest before finding ourselves taking shelter from the rain to the sounds of Leeds duo, worriedaboutsatan who were a nice alternative to Converge after a few hours of pretty heavy music, as much as I love Converge I just couldn’t tear myself away from the floaty electronic vibes.

Saturday began with the weekends biggest regrets after waking up with the worst hangover and realising i’d missed Real terms & IRK, this wasn’t made any easier during the day as everyone had glowing reports for both bands sets.
Jardin De la Croix were another new discovery who didn’t fail to impress as we watched from the back enjoying the glorious sunshine Saturday had delivered after Fridays downpours.

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Photo Credit : Ed Sprake


The Physics house band played the Arc Main stage and the sunny afternoon slot is the perfect setting for their Jazz influenced prog noodles, the addition of Saxophone for many of the tracks was an excellent touch too, serious stuff!!!

Next up it’s anything but serious as A Werewolf brought their filthy grind mathcore nonsense back again after spliting up after last years festival, some seriously silly banter and hawaiian shirts, the band demand circle pits and the crowd happily oblige with the biggest smiles on their faces. Part filth, part comedy, it all comes to an end too quickly with guitarist Niall being crowdsurfed out of the tent and carried to the nearest bar.

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Photo Credit : Nick Sayers

Belgian trio Brutus were one of our most anticipated bands this year, they delivered a ferocious set of tracks from their debut album “Burst”,  very powerful music and Drummer/Vocalist Stefanies voice is flawless live, go see them if you get the chance when they tour the UK later this year.

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Photo Credit : Nick Sayers

Tricot are by far the bounciest and happiest band playing this years festival without a doubt and the Japanese math rockers make it look effortless as they batter through their super slick set of upbeat anthems.
South Koreas Jambinai were another first for us and were one of our highlights of the weekend, from the get go they had the crowd hooked with their unique take on post-rock which included traditional Korean instruments, it was a very unique set and it was lovely to see how happy the band were to be playing to such an appreciative crowd, definitely a band we will be going to see again the next time the opportunity arises.

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Photo Credit : Ed Sprake

Opting for The St Pierre Snake invasion as our festival closer was a good call, the Bristol band have been making big waves over the past year and they deserved this headline slot. Yeah they were up against Explosions in the Sky but that didn’t stop them putting on one of the most furious and intense shows of their lives and as they finish their set the sad realisation that ATG is drawing to an end for another year sets in but not before one more silent disco.

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Photo Credit : Jonathan Dadds

ArcTanGent Number 5 was an amazing weekend and we can’t wait to see what Number 6 has got in store for us next year!!!