Brain cells barely firing after four days of sun-kissed metal, here’s our preliminary look at UK Tech-Metal Fest 2013!
The Fens have been alive with the sound of sub drops. The hottest weekend of the year also saw the hottest line-up in living memory set up shop in a (usually) quiet corner of the countryside just outside Peterborough for 2013’s UK Tech-Metal Fest.
Somewhere between 500 and 600 fans and band members braved the blistering temperatures to drink up and throw down – and they were very well rewarded for their efforts.
The Monolith was out in force, with four of us risking tinnitus and sunstroke to cover as much of the festival as possible without actually bursting into flames. We are, as I type, gradually emerging from this reverie and desperately trying to collect our thoughts and re-condense our vocabularies.
We have much to tell.
Reviewing my notes, I see that I watched no fewer than 28 bands in three days, and I know that the others caught and spoke with bands that I didn’t quite manage to. It’s going to take us a few days to pull everything together, but we are sure that those of you who couldn’t make it out to the paddock behind a fairly unassuming country pub are going to be hungry to hear how it went, so this is just a little taste – a shape of reviews to come, as it were.
The best general description I heard of the overall ambience of the festival came from organiser Simon Garrod – which was a half-way house between a ‘proper’ festival and an illegal rave. Having experienced both, I think this is bang on the money. All of the legal bases were covered (although some, admittedly, only just), but it also carried a slightly ramshackle, DIY vibe that generated both an overall sense of goodwill amongst the revellers, as well as a very strong sense of community and common purpose. Despite being virtually boiled in our tents, the vibe remained chilled, angry confrontations were minimal and very little went noticeably wrong at all. Of course, there were some snags and disappointments along the way, but we can talk about those later.
Benjamin Disraeli said that “History is made by the people who show up”, and that is precisely what has happened here – with bands travelling from the States, Italy, the Netherlands, Denmark and India just to play, and fans coming from all points of the country and well beyond to be a part of it, the festival felt like a real gathering of the tribe. There was little, if any, separation between the bands and the fans with many of the musicians sticking around for the entire weekend. The afterparties, in particular, saw everyone mingling together and enjoying the more bearable temperatures.
Adding to the sense of occasion were a number of exclusive appearances and at least one never-to-be repeated performance (but more of these to come later), along with a whole wealth of interviews, anecdotes and more once we’ve washed the sunscreen from our eyes, cleaned the blood from our shorts and strained the sweat out of our t-shirts.
The bottom line is simple – this was a truly incredible, unforgettable weekend. If you had the opportunity to go and passed it up, the scale of your fuck-up can only be measured on a yardstick of a most profound magnitude.
So, for now, let me just leave you with a couple of my own personal highlights;
Most goosebump-inducing: The moment Dan Tompkins started singing at the start of Skyharbor’s triumphant set. Truly magical.
Song of the festival: “Mobius Pts I-III” by Chimp Spanner – encapsulating everything that is great about the UK tech scene right now into 15 minutes.
Lip-curling crunch of the festival: Too close to call between Xerath and Heart Of A Coward
Most terrifyingly energetic: The Colour Line, who barely stopped moving even in between songs.
Most beautifully bonkers: Dan-Elias Brevig bringing his a capella renditions of tech metal favourites to the Saturday night afterparty
Most actually bonkers: Tied between Cold Night For Alligators ending their set with the Harlem Shake, and Heart Of A Coward turning the mosh pit into a metal ballroom, complete with waltzing couples
Most baffling wardrobe choices: People wearing bobble hats and beanies in 30-plus degree heat. What ARE you doing???
Most heart-warming sight: The pre-teen in a Morbid Angel t-shirt, throwing the horns and playing air guitar to band after band. You’ve taught him well, Dad.
Revelation of the festival: No Consequence and a procession of vocalists proving that, despite what we all might say, everyone secretly loves Limp Bizkit. You know who you are.
Keep watching throughout the week for more in-depth coverage, eked from weary limbs and heat-addled brains!