REVIEW: ArcTanGent Music Festival, 9/10, by Tom Dixon
THIS festival, part of the Chew Valley village weekend, was described as the sister event to the 2000 Trees Festival held annually in Gloucestershire.
After strong performances at ArcTanGent's Thursday-night preview show by acclaimed six-piece Talons and Bristol-based bands Pohl and Falling Stacks, Friday saw the first full day of festivities.
Opening the main stage and the Yohkai stage were Bristol stalwarts The Naturals and St Pier Snake Invasion respectively. The Naturals performed an excitable mix of psychedelic and techno-influenced rock with such aplomb and technical proficiency that they drew a strong showing for a noon slot.
St Pier forced open the eyes of anyone still asleep, courtesy of the sheer volume and energy of their performance.
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From there the first day drew more strong performances, particularly by Baby Godzilla, from Nottingham, who tore through a set of aggressive punk, flooring the audience's expectations when the four softly-spoken members assembled onstage. Spectres From Bristol also brought an air of abandon to their set which consisted of them hammering through last year's self-released and fantastic Hunger EP.
A whole host of bands performing at ArcTanGent have found acknowledgement on the DIY-label Howling Owl Records.
Oliver Wilde opened Saturday morning with a swoonsome performance, and Giant Swan pushed the boundaries of what guitars are capable of.
Saturday night found a run of frantic performances. Three Trapped Tigers, from London, garnered a strong response to their futuristic rock. Tall Ships then found their stride in the audience that ArcTanGent provokes.
Prior to the event, the organisers spoke of their attempt to choose only bands with a niche following, so they would have devoted attendees.
When, at the culmination of Tall Ships' set, the crowd mustered upwards of five crowd-surfers in a 100-capacity space, the benefits of such a marketing strategy became clear.
Japanese four-piece Bo Ningen and headliner F*** Buttons drove this point home.
Both of these bands have such a specific sound that they lack meaning or support in the wider world.
Within this small community ArcTanGent formed for two days, the organisers were able to give bands of such specific talent the perfect stage on which to perform.