ArcTanGent: day three
“Kill the rain, not the fun” became my motto after a wet, incredibly fun silent disco and a rainy night in a tent that wasn’t waterproof. The warm sun was a very welcome sight on Saturday morning!
Marked as a must-see was glitchy downtempo act Luo on the main stage, who played his groovy, pulsating music with help from the lovely chaps in The Physics House Band. No touch, no talk, and no eye-contact seemed to be their thing, and to appear anonymous on a big stage, with such subtle and floating music made it feel like the performance disappeared with the wind. The songs were captivating and nicely composed, but they would have had a bigger impact on one of the smaller, enclosed stages.
From across the hill (literally) came Blueneck, to share with us their delicate and minimalistic post-rock. It requires a good deal of attention and patience to be able follow the ambient songs slow and quiet build-ups. Tranquil piano melodies wind their way into mysterious driving rhythms, carried on by brooding warm guitar and fragile vocals, effectively creating a personal and deeply emotional atmosphere, Blueneck managed to spellbind the audience and afterwards it was difficult to move away from the grip of the music and go back to the real world.
A black metal trio might seem out of place on a festival like this, but Fen are a band that knos a great deal about dynamic songs and blistering finales. Unfortunately and understandably, not many ArcTanGenters shared my adoration for this dark style of metal and the turnout was quite poor.
Spine-chilling screams, incredibly fast drums, soft build-ups and atmospheric sections mark Fen’s music, and it comes across as post rock on speed. The clean vocals was difficult to hear, but when the songs kicked into high gear it was more powerful than most other things this weekend. A welcome and appreciated break from the norm.
A very unfortunate clash forced me to leave Karhide, after only ten minutes of his wonderful speedy tunes, to catch the rest of Jamie Lenman‘s late afternoon show. The hype had been strong around this handsomely-dressed man during the weekend, and when I arrived the large crowd had already risen to the same level of merry madness as the charismatic Mr. Lenman himself.
The fast-paced performance whirled through old Reuben classics, a happy birthday sing along for his friend Anna, a swinging saxophone cover of The Champ‘s “Tequila“, and of course, several of his own properly heavy jazzcore songs.
It was a pleasure to see the mutual feeling of joy and passion that happened between the band members and the audience, and this was the reason why Jamie and his Heavy Mellow Band, beaming with delight, dubbed this show “the best they’ve ever played”. This kind of genre-mixing brilliance is meant to be experienced live; don’t miss out if you get a chance to see them!
Reminiscent of Cult of Luna both in style and performance the instrumental Year Of No Light from France filled our ears with hypnotizing, lengthy post-metal songs. With two drum sets, a keyboard, three guitarists and a bass player, they struggled to fit everyone on the small stage and there wasn’t any room for movement. Year Of No Light were a completely different beast live than on album; it was mighty as hell. The two drummers took the songs to another level; droning beginnings turned into rhythmic, tribal passages that slowly expanded and grew into a huge wonderful wall of sound, crushing everything in its wake. Just when I thought it couldn’t get any more intense, they kicked it up a notch. It literally felt like my mind had been blown out of my ears – and that’s a compliment.
The sun was going down and painted the sky in beautiful shimmering colours as if it wanted to set the scene for the Irish masterminds God Is An Astronaut.”Ladies and ArcTanGentlemen!” they greeted us, and anyone who expected a nice, relaxing set were in for a surprise.
What we got was gorgeous, hard-hitting space rock from another dimension, tightly performed by four very (attr)active guys dancing with their instruments under blue and purple lights. It was intense to say the least.
The sky grew darker and the music heavier; each sweeping song more epic than the next, each note played with great precision to create complex layered melodies and crashing climaxes. The cold air was filled with pure passion, and that night God Is An Astronaut were the gods, not only of post-rock, but of time, space and the whole universe.
The big finale: post rock legends Mono, all the way from Japan. On the slope towards the Arc Stage, long rows of neatly lined-up camping chairs could be seen; many people were seated comfortably enjoying the cinematic music that flowed like ocean waves over the hills. Under a starlit sky and soft, effective stage lighting, Mono gave us a show like no other.
No words were needed, no movement on stage. Their music alone took us on a magical adventure and not many eyes were dry during the heartbreaking crescendos and enveloping orchestral pieces. Unusual instruments like gongs, glockenspiel and timpani drums added a little extra poetry to the songs. A perfectly grandiose ending to a fantastic festival weekend.
An overall relaxed atmosphere and small festival size, stages that provide shelter from the rain, phone charging station and locker rooms, good smelling toilets, lineup schedule with a plastic pocket to hang around your neck for easy access, a very clean festival site and camping, plenty of recycle bins, affordable prices. Fernhill Farm food stall – Locally grown food from the farm the event was held at. Great idea! Super-friendly staff, homemade and wonderfully mixed meals.
Would like to change:
A silent disco-channel with more odd electronic dance music (not only The Mars Volta), better info about tickets for the shuttle buses and where to find them, slightly more variation of styles on the lineup.