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Chris reels off his five bands to watch at Tech Fest 2014

UK Tech Fest 2014 Five Bands To Watch

UK Tech Fest 2014 is next week. As our coverage to date will have shown, we are quite excited.

Last year’s shindig was the best festival most of us have ever been to, and so it’s with grins on our faces and ice packs at the ready that we are once again heading down to watch the fun unfurl. This year’s event at the new location of Newark Showground promises more surface area, upgraded facilities and potentially twice the tech.

With that in mind, we thought we’d spend the week running down the five bands each of us that are going are most excited to see. Day one falls to me. Without further blabbering:


Bear Live

Photo credit: KTcroft Photography

Playing: Friday – 12:30pm, Main Stage

We were aware that Bear were good – their Basick Records debut Noumenon announced as much – but it wasn’t until we were mauled by them in that tiny room above The Black Heart in Camden that we realised quite how well suited to their name the Belgian quartet are.

They are essentially four extremities of the same animal. Maarten Albrechts is the chest, lungs and mouth of the beast. Leander Tsjakalov is the flailing, razor-clawed arms. Serch Carriere is the thundering legs, pounding away as it chases you, and Dries Verhaert is the cacophonous heart, keeping the whole damn thing moving. They operate as one, in an impressive display of unity that dispenses with click tracks, count-ins, or often even eye contact.

It’ll be interesting to see them on a more open stage, with fewer walls to bounce off. I’m sure they’ll manage nonetheless.

Bear on Facebook

Devil Sold His Soul

Devil Sold His Soul 2013

Playing: Friday – 5:00pm, Main Stage

There’s actually very little tech to be found in the music of southern quintet Devil Sold His Soul – they’re more about big, open chords, wall upon wall of noise, and emotional dischordance – but there is a sneaky little connection to the scene in the form of new(ish) frontman Paul Green, who replaced founding member Ed Gibbs last year. Paul is also known for his – admittedly sporadic – tenure in DSHS’ s labelmates The Arusha Accord.

What the band will bring to the main stage on Friday afternoon is experience. Their three albums thus far belie a wealth of touring experience – I’ve seen them an exhaustive seven times since 2007, and that’s having passed on a few shows over the years. I’ve yet to see Paul perform with the band in the flesh, but if recent single “Time” is anything to go by, he’s more than got what it takes.

Devil Sold His Soul on Facebook

Now, Voyager

Now Voyager 2014

Playing: Saturday – 2:00pm, Second Stage

Just the ferocious injection of hardcore that we might need to wake us up on Saturday afternoon, Bear’s countrymen Now, Voyager were another Black Heart revelation with whom I’ve been more impressed the more I’ve listened to them. Whilst their EP release show was a little over-bearing in the light department for such a small room, it showed that they have both ambition and stagecraft.

The addition of a fifth member earlier this year will only flesh out their sound on the Tech Fest second stage, as well as another body off whom guitarist Martin Dawagne can bounce whenever he enters whirlwind mode. He’s an energetic devil, that’s for sure.

Now, Voyager on Facebook

The Safety Fire

The Safety Fire 2014

Playing: Sunday – 6:30pm, Main Stage

We’ve been consistently impressed enough with Londoners The Safety Fire over the last two years – both in their recorded and live guises – to be confident that Tech Fest 2014 will be another tache-twizzling feather for their caps.

It’s actually a little surprising they haven’t yet graced the event in its previous two years, as they are the embodiment of both the technical element of the festival’s spirit, as well its friendly, come-all vibe (above picture aside…). We always thought they’d be perfect, and now here they are.

Cuts from both of their full-length albums are sure to grace our ears; “Huge Hammers” mixing with “Red Hatchet” and more. Expect good, sweaty fun, and a resounding chorus of “Fuck The Safety Fire!”

The Safety Fire on Facebook

The Sun Explodes

The Sun Explodes

Playing: Thursday – 3:00pm

Mid-afternoon on early bird Thursday will see our favourite Northerners The Sun Explodes landing onstage. A dichotomous mix of guitar-wielding light and dark, TSE bring both the lighter, airer side of prog, along with the meatier, shoutier bits that you would normally associate with people who come from anywhere north of Middlesbrough.

A few of us were incredibly impressed with the band’s recorded output last year – We Build Mountains made more than one year-end list – not least of all because of the progression between their older material and newer is marked, but also because all elements pull together. Everything is amped up: vocalist Dave Maclachlan has some serious lungs on him, reaching heights usually unheard of from anyone not wearing skinny jeans. The guitars are crisp and well constructed, and the rhythm section moves with a life of its own.

They’re also a bit good live. TSE will be the gem of a perfect start to the long weekend, so make sure you get there in good time to catch their set.

The Sun Explodes on Facebook

More later in the week from Simon, Quigs and Mark!