Festival season is just about wrapped up by this point, but if you’re like me then the best has been saved for last. That comes in the form of the first ever Arctangent Festival. Coming from the team behind 2000 Trees, this festival features the best in experimental music – be it Math Rock, Post-rock or even Black Metal – so if your music taste is even the slightest bit adventurous then you should probably check out some of the bands on show if you aren’t already going. On top of that, the weather is forecast to be pretty good for a festival so you never know, we might just get the sun, the sun, the sun in our eyes. Anyway, here are our personal picks:
Rolo Tomassi have been slogging away since 2005 and if you haven’t heard about them by now then you might want to start paying more attention to exceptional bands. The sheffield band have been described as everything from Art-rock to Jazzcore and made their names known with an eclectic mix of heavy riffs, jazzy interludes and Eva Spence’s dichotomic screamed and sung vocals – not a band to miss.
TTNG, or ‘The Artist Formerly Known as This Town Needs Guns’, are as popular in math rock circles as they are in emo, thanks to their emotionally charged and subtle take on the genre that almost verges into the territory of ‘twinkle’ bands such as Algernon Cadwallader. Despite several lineup changes the band are still going strong and putting out some of the best vibes around.
One of the best things about this festival is that there is no lack of instrumental bands, Maybeshewill being one of them. The band play a riff driven take on post-rock with plenty of effects and samples, made all the sweeter (for early entry fans) by the band playing 2 sets, one of them being fan chosen. If you’re a Maybeshewill fan, it doesn’t really get much better than that, does it?
And So I Watch You From Afar
In case you couldn’t tell from the terrible joke based on their lyrics in the first paragraph, I’m really quite fond of And So I Watch You From Afar. This band plays math rock on a grand scale, mixing intricate riffing with huge dynamics and some massively catchy moments – ASIWYFA are undoubtedly going to be one of the highlights of this festival.
Tall Ships play a particularly catchy blend of math rock and post-rock with subtly pop-influenced sensibility. Massive choruses that wash over the listener with the help of masterful use of samples and loop pedals make the band not only a great listen on record but quite the spectacle in a live setting.
Despite the default bewildered look on their face when someone asks what I’m listening to, You Slut! are a great band and among the most fun acts at Arctangent. Their non-so-subtle take on math rock keeps the eclectic time signatures but opts for a distorted, discordant riffs and melodies in place of the grand displays that other bands tend to opt for.
One of the festival’s main stage headliners, 65Daysofstatic have been crafting instrumental opuses since 2001 with a combination of sampled beats, electronic melodies and full band performances – definitely a band to check out if you like math rock or post-rock, especially if you like a subtle industrial vibe thrown in the mix.
Three Trapped Tigers
This band are mad. Go see them. From their three self-titled EPs to their debut album ‘Route One Or Die’, Three Trapped Tigers have created some of the most intense, effect driven and bombastic music to come out recently – their songs are bafflingly complex and make for quite a spectacle live. From personal experience, you will be blown away seeing them live. Oh and they have Matt Berry in their music video.
Dragged Into Sunlight
Undoubtedly the heaviest band on the lineup, Dragged Into Sunlight are making big waves in UK black metal circles at the moment. With their extremely cult underground following, extreme noise-influenced sound and ominously anonymous (try saying that three times fast) stage presence, this band are sure to make a serious impact at Arctangent.
Keeping with the heavy to finish this up, Astrohenge play a unique blend of sludge, psychedelic and progressive metal. They have some extremely nice grooves in store and keep it weird enough to pull away from the standard sludge sound. Very enjoyable stuff.
Words by Ben Kosma (@benkosma)