Our guide to ArcTanGent 2017

By Mark Johnson

There are plenty of festivals to enjoy over the British summer season but though there’s plenty of choice, it’s common to see similar bands appear across multiple line-ups, making many of them feel quite similar. At ArcTanGent things work a little differently; with a focus on math-rock, post-rock and the weird, noisy spaces in between, this festival has a unique offering that you don’t find anywhere else on the festival calendar.┬áNow in its fifth year, ArcTanGent is not only unique for its line-up, but is also the only festival where the crowd can clap perfectly in 7/8 and are more likely to be singing riff patterns than lyrics.

With a packed out schedule featuring 70 bands on 4 stages across 3 days, it can be difficult to narrow down your itinerary, so here are our top 10 picks for the weekend, plus an extended playlist to keep you company.

 

Fall of Messiah


This French quintet has stunned audiences at StrangeForms festival over the past two years thanks to their hugely intense, heartfelt, instrumental post-rock. They’re able to move from intricate, atmospheric passages to fist-clenchingly aggressive crescendos that get so intense that on the first occasion we saw them, the drummer’s blood was smeared across the snare by the end of set. These guys are bound to get the adrenaline pumping on the opening day of the festival.

 

Vasudeva


Vasudeva released their superb new record ‘No Clearance‘ earlier in the year and with so many atmospheric slices of post-rock to enjoy, it can’t fail to have impact live. The trio’s earlier material showcased how good they were as individual musicians and with this latest record, they’ve refined their sound to combine that individual flair into one cohesive, indulgent package.

 

Gallops


They may only have three members, but between them they have enough equipment to kit out a music shop. It’s not just for show though, Gallops use everything at their disposal to make their instrumental creations as inventive as possible and in a live setting, the combination of electronics, loop pedals and conventional instruments is something to behold. If you’re looking for style as well as substance, make sure you catch these guys.

 

Heck


The only predictable thing about a Heck performance is unpredictability. You know the band will push the limits in some way, and whether that’s climbing random structures, performing on top of the crowd or breaking bones for the sake of a performance, you’re always guaranteed to be entertained when Heck are in town. If you’re walking around the festival and you hear someone say “did you see what Heck did?” you don’t want to be answering “no”. If you’ve got a fear of missing out, make sure you’re there for this one.

 

Wot Gorilla?

Wot Gorilla? released their first substantial release in five years last month with ‘Angel Numbers‘ and it not only signalled that the trio were back in business, it also gave us some of their best material to date. Pairing complex, intricate math-rock instrumentals with catchy vocals, Wot Gorilla? have a winning formula and we’re excited to see the new material live.

 

Hikes

Texas-based math-rockers Hikes impressed with their recent EP ‘Lilt’ thanks to the ambient instrumentals and effective vocals. Their warm tones and sunny vibes might be needed at a festival that’s known to fall on the more ironic side of our British ‘summer-time’.

 

TTNG

Some bands you just never tire of seeing live and TTNG are one of them. Brothers Tim and Chris Collis might be separated physically but mentally they’re in perfect tandem; it’s a pleasure to watch them breeze through their complex math-rock creations with ease, somehow making it look as though they’re jamming out the easiest songs ever written. Their latest record ‘Disappointment Island‘ has just passed its first birthday and their set will be a welcome reminder of the vast quality on the album.

 

Converge

Having just released their first new material in five years, Converge will get to really blow off the cobwebs once they hit the stage at ArcTanGent. ‘I Can Tell You About Pain’ and ‘Eve’ take the band’s signature blend of raw power and emotional delivery to new levels and with a reputation for monumental stage performances, you’ll want to be there when Converge close out day two of the festival.

 

SikTh

Continuing the rebirth theme, SikTh are another band making a very welcome return this year. New record ‘The Future in Whose Eyes?‘ may be the band’s first full-length in over a decade but it’s like they’ve never been away; the riffs are huge, the groove is infectious and Mikee Goodman’s new vocal partner Joe Rosser has slotted into the band like he was there all along. At one stage it seemed we’d never get to see SikTh on stage again, so be sure to take every opportunity that comes your way now they’re back in action.

 

Explosions in the Sky

One of the most compelling aspects of post-rock is the genre’s ability to take you on emotional journeys that transcend into dream-like states as the music washes over you. These emotional responses are reserved for the truly majestic post-rock bands and there are few as genre-defining as Explosions in the Sky. The Texan quartet provide plenty to contend with on record, but with the additional of visual stimuli as well, their live performances are something else entirely. Explosions in the Sky will be closing the festival on the Saturday night and as their only UK show of 2017, make sure you don’t miss what’s sure to be an epic conclusion to this year’s event.


For more information on ArcTanGent head over to the festival’s official website.