Standing in the middle of Fernhill Farm with the rain battering down into my pint (becoming ever less intoxicating by the second), the only thought that briefly flitted through my mind was that I haven't done this enough in 2015.
Unfortunately the tedium’s of adulthood have been somewhat restrictive as of late, and the thought of the sights and sounds of questionable behaviour attacking my senses from every direction has been all but a distant dream... Until ArcTanGent Festival of course.
Now to claim that I have a photographic memory of the events that unfolded over the weekend would be misleading to say the least, but the Battles-esq opening riffs from Mutiny on the Bounty were certainly hard to forget. Inviting the cream of the crop from the previous year (as voted by fans) is a great way to kick off a festival, and seeing Japanese hyper-musicians Lite return to the Yokhai stage was definitely welcome.
Friday was thrust upon me abruptly and called for something fairly spectacular to clear the cob webs from Thursday's debauchery, luckily Body Hound were present to provide the cure to my ailments. Full of evil rhythms and dissonant charm their performance was nothing short of exceptional, easily upstaging bands with twice the reputation. Go and see them live, like right now.
Writing a review for a festival of this nature, where you know more than half of every bands back catalogue, is rather difficult. You always feel like you're leaving someone out. With this in mind honourable mentions for Friday go to Valerian Swing and Delta Sleep, killing it in their own right. It was The Fall of Troy who I was waiting for however, proverbially stepping through a portal in time to high-five my fifteen year old self. I don't care if it's the obvious choice but seeing F.C.P.R.E.M.I.X played live really put a big stupid grin on my face, one which lingered the rest of the weekend.
Looking through Saturday's line-up through hazy eyes, very much the aftermath of Friday's silent disco shenanigans, revealed a busy day of darting between stages to cram as much in as humanly (or otherwise) possible. A mishap concerning Cult of Luna's flights off set the mains stage by an hour, which largely worked more in my favour considering the circumstances. Black Peaks showed why they've been featured on the likes of Radio 1's Rock Show this year by playing a monster main stage set, diving in and out of heavy, melodic progressions seamlessly.
The ominous Vodun, riff-laden Alright the Captain and Scottish instrumental nutcases Vasa did a fine job of perforating ear drums, proving the 'up and coming' PX3 stage is definitely not worth missing. It's great to see bands of this calibre giving the big boys a run for their money, and that to me is what ArcTanGent is really about.
I may have only gotten the one in this summer, but I wouldn't have picked any other. Too many bands to mention, a great sense of community and being involved in something that is very much more than just the some of its parts. Same time next year.
Review: Liam McMillan Photos: Chris Poots