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

UK Tech Fest 2014 Five Bands To Watch

This week, those of us attending Tech Fest 2014 are running through five of our most anticipated acts each. Today, our fuzzy veteran Simon goes through his picks:


Alaya 2012

Playing: Sunday – 2:30pm, Main Stage

Every festival needs an exclusive appearance or two to help it stand out from the pack. The announcement that Alaya would be playing their first UK show as part of the frankly astonishing Sunday line-up caused an extensive bout of air-punching round these parts.  We were really very keen on debut album Thrones when it finally reached us at the start of the year, a full twelve months after the release of first single “Inside“.  It was worth the wait.

As it stands, the only live footage of the band that exists in the public domain sounds like it was recorded through an entire punnet of raspberries and farts, but it does suggest that their ‘Muse-shuggah’ hybrid of soaring melodies and off-kilter, staccato riffing are given an extra level of beef in the live environment.  I suspect their set may well be heavier than one might expect from the album.  It’s going to be fun finding out.

Alaya on Facebook




Playing: Friday – 1:30am, Double Slit Stage

Over the last few months, I’ve made no secret of the fact that the renaissance that the crossover of metal and dance music seems to be enjoying recently excites me greatly.  So Friday night’s after-hours event is the one I’m most looking forward to by far.  I’ve picked out Collisions here as the one to watch, but it is almost too close to call between them and fellow bleep-and-riff merchants Seething Akira. The pairing of Seething Akira’s dubstep and Collisions’ drum & bass should keep folks moving and grooving long past their bedtimes.

I first saw Collisions opening up the release show for The Algorithm‘s Polymorphic Code, and having seen the plucky quartet on a number of occasions since then, I am confident they will give us quite the party.  Recent single “We Know The Enemy” gave us the first taste of the new material to come, and I can’t wait to hear more.  Not only that, but if there is any point over the whole weekend where I may forget how old and brittle I am and attempt to dance like a teenager again, this will be the time.  And you don’t want to miss that, do you?

Collisions on Facebook

No Sin Evades His Gaze

No Sin Evades His Gaze

Playing: Friday – 2:00pm, Second Stage

No Sin Evades His Gaze are so fresh they still have that ‘new band smell’. Tech Fest will be just their second show, but you can already feel the buzz building around the band.  With a string of illustrious festival dates ahead of them throughout the summer, and a particularly snazzy looking video for lead single and album title track “Age of Sedation” doing the rounds, this represents a real opportunity to get in on the ground floor of (hopefully) a band’s rise to prominence.

I am going to have to indulge in a little bit of music-writer wankiness here, because I have been given an early listen to the debut album, due in the next couple of months. You will be able to read my fuller thoughts on it shortly after the festival, but for now all you really need to know is that I am impressed. Very impressed. The single really is just the tip of the iceberg – a rather chunky iceberg at that, and one that owes as much to the 90′s groove of the likes of Fear Factory and early Machine Head as it does to the band’s more contemporary bretherin. Tantalising, huh?

No Sin Evades His Gaze on Facebook


Aliases 2013

Playing: Sunday – 5:45pm, Second Stage

I’ve already singled out Aliases once as a reason to be excited for Tech Fest, but I think they’re worth a second mention. With their appearances at the last two Tech Fests either dramatically curtailed or cancelled entirely due to events conspiring against them, it has to be third time lucky for the Manchester quintet.

Not only that, but with a crowdfunding campaign underway for their now-completed debut full-length, there’s a strong likelihood that we will hear, at long last, some new material in the set – and that has to be a good thing.

Of course, guitarist Pin is pulling a double-duty on this hectic Sunday, headlining both stages. That has to be some kind of festival first. Can anyone think of a similar scenario? Buggered if I can. But without further ado, let’s move on to….

Aliases on Facebook



Playing: Friday – 2:00pm, Second Stage

As if there could be anyone else to close out the biggest and boldest tech fest bill to date?

Right from the moment SikTh announced their return to the stage at Download, it seemed all but inevitable that this would come to pass. We hectored anyone we could that was even vaguely associated with the festival for early confirmation of the booking, and it is to their eternal credit that they kept their counsel right up until the official announcement immediately after Download.

As a long-standing metal fan/old bastard, I have many fond memories of watching the band, from their early tours right through to the shows that were originally billed as a farewell to vocalists Mikee and Justin, but ultimately proved to be the last the band would play before quietly calling it a day a few months later.

It is hard to underestimate the influence of SikTh’s legacy on the bands and fans that will be gathering in Newark. Possibly only two bands would carry more heft – The Dillinger Escape Plan and Meshuggah. But even if those bands may be out of the modest reach of the festival, SikTh most certainly do not feel like a consolation prize. If anything, they have added an even greater sense of occasion to the weekend.

Last year we were blessed with glorious weather for the entire weekend. Whether we shall be that lucky again remains to be seen, but I think we can be certain that even if we’ve been scorched or drenched for four straight days, as the last chord of The Ocean‘s set dies away and the final main stage backline change is in progress, anticipation on site will be at an all-time high.

Outlining what to expect from SikTh’s set feels almost entirely redundant: everybody knows. Download may have snagged the first return performance from the band, but it is this one that will feel like a homecoming.

However, if you somehow manage to make it all the way to the end of the weekend completely oblivious to SikTh’s music and you are feeling too fragile to mosh – when Mikee yells “Pusssssyyyyyffffooooottt!”, then for God’s sake get out of the way. You have been warned.

SikTh on Facebook

More later in the week from Quigs and Mark!