In Pictures: ArcTanGent 2019 Day 1- Thursday
Live Festival Feature
Every year we head to ArcTanGent and think there’s no possible way it can be topped and every year we’re proved wrong- an incredible little musical bubble that leaves festival go-ers truly amazed and captivated by the festivals offering.
In our first part of our ArcTanGent review we look at the first day’s offering. Frankly one of the best first day’s we’ve ever experienced at any festival.
This year Arc offered more. More stages, more acts, more art (we’re looking at you ToddJerm), more surprise sets in the same setting which each year reunited it’s self-built community within the attendees and music lovers.
With Floral opening the Yohkai stage and Cultdreams opening the Bixler stage, Thursday was extra special as the festival was kicked off on the Arc stage with a special and beautiful musical tribute to Dan Wild-Beesley; The Beft, a sincere tribute which packed the main stage and respectfully touched all.
Bossk followed the tremendous effort to all who contributed to the tribute prior on the Arc Stage, whilst Ithaca and Yvette Young both dominated the PX3 stage with their allocated slots, we darted about the field with the crowd growing bigger minute by minute catching as many acts as possible.
Over to the new stage of the year, Elephant In The Bar Room– the second act of the stage for the day is one causing a serious stir at present- Pave. Originally a duo, vocals, piano and beats by Ais and Toby (of Chiyoda Ku). Their first Arc appearance and with the addition of a new bassist to the mix.
Haunting vocals reminiscent of that similar to Emma Ruth-Rundle, Cat Power, PJ Harvey, Ais curates a sincere intensity projected from such a powerful voice, the crowd grew bigger as their set developed. Together with a dark brooding atmosphere created by the keys and intelligent drum beats, stop-starts and tentative cymbal crashes. Hypnotic notes assist in the cathartic performance from the band, each musician easily creating such a full-bodied set. There’s a lot more to come from Pave in the future and this is exciting.
Towards the end of Pave’s performance, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs were effortlessly blowing minds of their crowd on the Yohkai stage. Delivering an emotionally devastating live performance of dark intensity with a fun emancipation, heavy riffs and fierce vocals. Pigs x 7 kept the crowd entertained.
Over on the Bixler stage, we were thrilled to see the live return of Irish quintet BATS. We’ve been in awe of this act who have been plugging hard since 2006. They first caught our attention when they crossed paths with legendary label Richter Collective, that and sharing stages with the likes of The Locust and These Arms Are Snakes. Following a long silence, this summer the band announced their return with their first release in over 7 years- ‘Alter Nature’ and this is about to captivate one and all.
BATS relished in their set, providing their own melodic carnage to the tent. Playing their old classics and new material such as ‘Old Hitler‘, the band boasts rhythmic energy and a strong sense of melody. Their set was aggressive and bold. Abrasive and erratic, BATS have defined their sound to cross so many genres and yet they create something so driven and excessive.
Nordic Giants are heroes of ArcTanGent having played numerous times before, this time the pair had been upgraded to the main stage and rightfully so- they bought the crowd to attention as they blasted through their intense arrangements. The instrumental, electronic duo heightened their performance with visual aids, astonishing cinematic visuals adorning the back screen, combined with their dramatic, operatic performance and stage outfits left audience members with no other choice but to pay attention. Their set featured a fitting tribute to Dan Wild-Beesley with a special re-work of Queen‘s Bohemian Rhapsody, featuring live vocals from Evi Vine and lead guitar from Andy Cook.
Denmark’s Møl followed BATS on the Bixler stage and the black metal/shoegaze talent had a massive crowd of fans waiting for their live antics. As soon as the band took to the stage it was clear they are masters of their craft. Møl commanded attention with their fast-paced standout set and their truly crushing setlist.
Trying to avoid clashes on the line-up schedule, we ran over to Yohkai stage to witness Covet in all their glory. Exactly 4 years prior to August 15th, we caught Covet live during their 2015 UK tour. Now 4 years later, it’s clear to see Covet have grown tremendously with their live attributes. This band know how to entertain and enthrall their audience. With her second performance of the day, Yvette proves she is a skill-full composer with all that she creates. Complimented by David Adamlak on bass and Forrest Rice on drums, the three bounce off one another’s attributes and make for a fun and gripping performance to watch. Their intricate and complex set hooked every onlooker and proved why these three are a notable force. One of the most fun sets of the festival, the tent was packed, the sides of the stage filled with tour friends and members of Invalids, Floral and Standards. Not a single person stood still- the audience thrived on their energy.
Throughout the day catching up with friends we’d ask who are you most looking forward to seeing that day, each time we’d hear Zeal & Ardor and Raketkanon hit those lists. Then it was time for Zeal & Ardor to show Arc what they’re about.
At the same time of their set, Post Rock quartet Lost in the Riots stepped out at PX3. Crowds quickly gathered in the tent to see the alternative and infectious 4 piece embark on their energetic performance. They effortlessly fuse courageously heavy elements with softer math-rock twinklings. Welcoming a new Drummer to the mix for their Arc return, the band played those melodic offerings from their latest offering ‘Bonds’, over time this band have cemented themselves as one of the most relevant acts in our current scene. A triumphant and appealing set from the four.
As the evening drew in, Belgium noise merchants Raketkanon took to Bixler. Their fans eagerly awaiting to witness this band thrive on delivering another uniquely insane live set. A huge wall of sound adorned their chaotic set of which the band are determined to shock and excite the audience however they see fit.
Across from them at Elephant In The Bar Room, one man his drum kit and his guitar left a tent in awe- Theo.
Theo, aka Sam Knight, has been around our local scene for years and is a force to be reckoned with. The one-man math-rock music machine creates intelligent instrumentation. It’s instrumental math noise at it’s finest. Theo creates each intricate layer of his work from scratch for each track. Layer by layer he builds the body of his work, creating delicate riffs and noodles pouring from the guitar, then he steps behind his drum kit and builds those track with his buoyant drum beats. Theo makes the audience feel a part of his performance, there are no boundaries- he simply captivates.
During the set, whilst we were seriously moved by this artist’s talents, several festival-goers asked who the artist was, transfixed on a man creating the sound of a band with at least 4 members. Theo completely owns his stage and his set, he should be incredibly proud of his projection.
Across from that tent you could see hoards of people making their way into the Arc tent. Setting up camp for the next show- Carpenter Brut. Taking to the stage after the crowd sang along to Toto’s Africa in full force, the crowd went absolutely mental from the first note. French synthwave artist Carpenter Brut brutalized his time with the heaviest electronic set going. Drawing influences from 80s TV shows and dark movies soundtracked by synths. A modern day John Carpenter sound creator bought huge circle pits to the energetic performance. Moody, dynamic and dark a bold and intense metal synthwave set. Just huge.
For us Thursday Highlights had to be Daughters. After Polyphia played the penultimate set on Yohkai stage it was Daughters time to close the night and the stage on Yohkai.
Rewind 12 months prior and news was just breaking about Daughters planned return, their signing to Ipecac Recordings and their album You Won’t Get What You Want. Since the release back in October the band have been touring relentlessly. Having witnessed a few shows of their YWGWYW we knew the festival was about to witness something phenomenal.
The experience of the band at full force is like standing in the ocean and for those seeing Daughters for the first time they were left truly mesmerized. For those standing at the front of the tent you were forced to move. Daughters set, as like their new record, is similar to being hit relentlessly with wave after wave; and even though the vocal is delivered in a calm and coherent manner there is no respite or reassurance from Alexis’ lyrics. The stories he narrates are often equally as haunting as they are poetic.
One of the heaviest sets through and through to ever grace Fernhill Farm. Alexis‘ performance is a mix of something satanic and something of a religious experience. Alexis is a poet, a preacher, an idiol. You need to listen to his words, take in the heightened atmosphere the band have created and relish in this profound embarkment.
Saddler’s signature distressing angular octave guitar, crushing every note, mixed with Syverson‘s violent yet skillfully controlled drum beats made a brutal and flawless execution. ArcTanGent got to witness not only one of the greatest frontmen of our time but an iconic band who obliterated their live arrangements.
Clashing with Daughters over on Bixler, AK/DK closed the night on that stage with their immense show; whilst across from Daughters over on PX3, we got the glimpse of Bristol trio Memory of Elephants setting up for their notable headline set. Fans had the chance to witness legends Coheed & Cambria end the first day of Arc 2019 on a total high.
That’s just day one captured, Friday had the most apocalyptic weather to grace Arc yet, rain mud and wind- proving that nothing could stop the Arc community witnessing Battles headline show and an abundance of Sargent House acts such as Russian Circles and Brutus playing. Adam Betts slayed the day (and the next day) in Colossal Squid and Ogives and No Violet proved their talents are next level. Saturday bought 2 performances from Howard James Kenny, a live return for a-tota-so and Three Trapped Tigers, plus Meshuggah and surprise set from ASIWYFA– but more of those days to follow.
Once again, ArcTanGent worked hard to create the perfect weekend- the perfect music community. Creating a masterpiece for a live music event combining the best music and the best like-minded attendees. Every person attending, working or performing they all make the festival so sincerely special and unique and we already need to be absorbing every moment at the next one!
All Images by Oli Montez
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