For the best part of a decade the tail end of my August was reserved for Reading Festival. I loved the fact that I could watch such a variety of modern indie and rock music with some great friends. But then something changed. A couple of years ago there were gaps in my festival schedule for the first time and I never went back.
This year I attempted to fill that gap by heading to ArcTanGent, a post-rock festival that’s particularly heavy on the math rock bands. It is cool for many reasons, but one of the big ones is the vibe at the event. The niche musical market of math rock all converges in one place. I lost count of the amount of times I heard bands say “This is the biggest crowd we’ve ever played to”. Bands mixed with fans, bands were fans of other bands. It felt like a celebration of good music. The line-up was incredibly well-arranged too – if you hit the instrumental math rock ceiling, there were plenty of other bands who brought a very different take on the genre to the party (AK/DK being a particularly fine case in point).
For me the exciting part about every festival are the new discoveries. Human Pyramids are an incredible concoction of post-rock and classical arrangements, with more members than you can shake a stick at. Their live show was unreal, with an incredible light and shade in what they produce because of the sheer number of instruments involved. They were an incredible live experience.
I’ve loved Appleseed Cast and Jeniferever for years, and EF fitted nicely into that bracket of ambient guitar, big drums and sparse vocals. They were an intense live band, so I would dearly love to see them take on a small club. El Ten Eleven were choc full of amazing musicianship and were a great live act too. Jealous Lovers Club are putting them on in Clwb Ifor Bach on Saturday, so if you’ve been bitten by the math rock bug I strongly recommend getting involved.