You've no doubt seen at least some of our extensive ArcTanGent coverage by now (if you haven't, what are you waiting for? Head here) and our editor-in-chief has had his say on what the festival was like, but we wanted to bring you something a little bit different to the standard post-festival review.
Throughout the weekend, we passed around a notebook to our friends, fellow bloggers, musicians & total strangers with the simple instruction "write what you like!" Below you can see the results in all their illegible glory.
In addition, writer Rich Collins gives us one sentence (ish) about each of the bands he saw over the weekend. His verdict? For people who insist on their music pushing boundaries, this was our Woodstock!
Alright the Captain I entered the tent not knowing who these guys were, I left fully in love with their hypnotic math rock nonsense!
Talons Never heard of these either but they delivered such a dramatic performance I got scared, it was simply stunning and it suddenly dawned on me I was spending the entire weekend watching the best bands on the planet (I was right).
Maybeshewill One of the best atmospheres you will ever experience at a festival, the whole audience stood there with hypnotic gurns trying to deal with the incredible noises being thrown at them (just a shame it was cut short).
The Naturals At first glance I thought a shit indie band had snuck onto the bill but all of a sudden they went off into a math jam which I thoroughly approved of.
Baby Godzilla What an insane performance from what can only be described as a bunch of nutters, the bass player can pull funnier expressions than anyone else on the planet... fact!
Antroprophh/Big Naturals Hardly anyone there to start with but this 3 multi instrumentalists pushed infinite boundaries on their mission to play 30 minutes of insane psychedelic rock, oh sweet Jesus it was awesome!
Winterfylleth These four fellas from up north don’t look like your traditional black metal band but unleashed an absolute beast of a performance containing so many breath taking time changes I started to cry.
The Physics House Band The tent was packed out with moshpits in abundance, these 3 chaps took us on an incredible mathrock journey which was severely enhanced by the immense euphoric atmosphere... also one of the chaps in the band looks about 11 years old.
Rolo Tomassi I was right in the eye of the storm in terms of drunkenness at this point but I remember walking away thinking ‘I would not fuck with that girl’... she’s BRUTAL!!
Bossk Truly a band of 2 halves, one minute we were bobbing our heads to some epic post rock before an unlikely chap came on and morphed the band into one of the nastiest post metal bands ever... was fucking intense!
Maybeshewill Were they as good as the day before? Course they were they are fucking pros, amazing set, amazing atmosphere, amazing band... end of!
Dragged into Sunlight The smoke machine, the candles, the backs to the audience - it all felt a bit dramatic for the 12 people who were there at the start. However, they conjured one of the best (not to mention scariest) metal performances I have ever seen in my life tearing through death metal one second and psychedelic doom the next. Dan the Editor of Echoes and Dust bumped into me after and said “It sounded like a machine gun was going off in there”.... but this band can do far more damage than any kind of fire arm!
Future of the Left These power noise rock giants opened with a new one, finished with ‘Light Sabre Cocksucking Blues’ and did what they do best... be one of the best bands EVER!
Public Service Broadcasting What a lovely thing it is to experience this band, quirky post rock overlaid with delicious samples... somebody whispered to me ‘This is the best thing I have ever seen’ and it was hard to disagree.
65daysofstatic I was on another planet at this point but what I do remember is undoubted post rock gods pumping out mind bending riffs with an electro edge... if you weren’t thoroughly engaged and entertained by what went on you are dead inside!
Anta This is the opening band? I would have been satisfied if the performance carried out by these doom math wizards was the headline set... it was absolutely insane.
Hysterical Injury Not going to change the world but I enjoyed the swirling noise pop bass heavy performance, any band fronted by a chick on bass guitar gets a thumbs up from me.
Cleft A delicious little journey across many styles of music which ArcTangent is all about... there was post rock, mathrock and even stoner rock; all delivered by some chap in glasses who you could confuse for somebody’s uncle. Nice!
Vessels Just what I needed, a fairly chilled electro flavoured set from a band that were clearly born to play this festival.
Fat Goth Imagine an innovative version of the Foo Fighters who had heavy riffs, this band weren’t reinventing the wheel but proved themselves to be nothing but a kick ass rock band.
Castrovalva Awesome experimental power noise rock from one of the most random bunch of chaps you’ll ever see…. Heavy, groovy, bass heavy, all over the place and absolutely perfect!
Three Trapped Tigers A math rock assault from one of the most boundary pushing bands there is… the atmosphere kicked ass and the crowd were left helpless other than to nod their heads in joyous agreement.
Nordic Giants I’m not entirely sure what was happening in this tent at this point as I was fairly smashed but from what I remember there was crazy costumes, stunning visuals and music that made you want to sob (with delight).
And so I watch you from afar What can you say? The sun was setting, the whole festival was in attendance and we stood and watched a mind melting band who were full of cheer. They fired through the most boundary breaking and exciting music you will ever hear and they could not have looked happier to be there. I will remember it forever.
Bo Ningen Before the set started I got the vibe that not many people in the tent knew what was coming, but I knew exactly what was coming… four long haired cross dressing Japanese chats pummelling us with face melting riffs in a way that’s so entertaining it might be illegal. Some chap after said ‘There were too many drawn out psychedelic bits!’ but that’s like complaining that there are too many hot naked chicks in your house begging to shag you.
Fuck Buttons Gigantic electronic noises being created by one of the most technologically advanced bands on the planet. Elated atmosphere combined with retina burning visuals, was there a perfect way to end this festival? Absolutely not!
Lastly, our photographer Magdalena Wrzeszcz wanted to say a few words in addition to the wonderful photos she took throughout the festival:
For me the spirit of ArcTanGent was best summed up at the very beginning, before we even got there. Our merry company in a Ford Ka, overloaded with 6 people’s worth of camping gear and a substantial amount of beer cans, lost in the middle of nowhere somewhere outside of Bristol, started to lose hope we were on the right way when we drove by the band’s entrance. We got stopped by a steward and asked ‘are you artists or crew, or just ticket holders?’ Well, there was one guitarist and three Echoes and Dust writers, two of them turned promoters in the car, so technically we fitted the bill for all three options. And the festival was made for people like us: music passionates, musicians, music journalists, promoters, people who dream of one day performing on ATG stages or curating a festival this size on their own.
Unlike some other, much bigger festivals, people at ArcTanGent were there for and because of the music. No one needed to show off their ‘on trend festival look’ - except for a few occasional hideous onesies, the look of the festival was simply a parade of great band t-shirts and you’d be taking mental notes to listen to music discovered on someone’s back because if they were there - it must be good. After I got back, my boyfriend asked ‘so, how many of your friends pulled?’ and he couldn’t believe that it was really not at all about that - we’d wake up, go see some music, hang out with friends, go watch some more music, make new friends, dance at the silent disco to even more music, go to sleep and next day repeat it all again. I’m sure Cupid brought some people together, but it was most likely because they were there out of the love for the same kind of music.
I caught up with some people I shared the ArcTanGent experience with a few days ago and the ones who couldn’t attend asked us ‘do you think it will be the next big festival?’ and we all replied ‘I hope not!’ Because as the members of 65daysofstatic, Three Trapped Tigers and And So I Watch You From Afar expressed from the stage - ‘they finally made a festival for the weird ones’. And I finally felt I belonged. For me the line-up was a dream come true. I could finally see all my favourite acts, which can be summed up as ‘bands with long, weird names, often with no capital letters and no spaces between the words’, performing in one place. It certainly seemed like I wasn’t the only one completely over the moon about this - we all were. They were ‘our’ bands, bands that we would usually go and see in some more or less shabby venues with maybe a couple of hundred capacity at the most. We want them to remain ‘our secret’ - and next year I’m going to sport the new Drowned in Sound t-shirt that says ‘You’ve probably never heard of them’. It comes as no surprise that all facebook fans of the festival in the short poll started by the organisers right after ArcTanGent ended agreed that we all want the festival to stay the same size, because it was just perfect.
What really did it for me though, was watching how for those ‘weird’ bands seeing a couple of thousand people listening to their intricate, completely non-commercial instrumental music was as big of an experience as for us being able to see them live all at once. One of the most priceless memories I will take away was the look of disbelief on Three Trapped Tigers’ faces when we started to hold our top front row spots way before they came on stage, and then when we exploded in cheers after every song and getting overexcited the more mathy they went.
For most of the musicians the moment when they know they made it is when they hear their song sang back to them. This doesn’t happen too often for the artists we saw at ArcTanGent (that’s why hearing Maybeshewill’s ‘He Films The Clouds Pt. 2’ was such a big deal - because the couple of thousand of us could sing back those 4 verses). And that’s why there was this one magical moment, which in all honesty brings a tear to my eye every time I look back at it, when during ASIWYFA’s ‘Set Guitars To Kill’ the whole crowd, in perfect unison, without a cue, shouted from the top of our lungs that one ‘WHOOO!’. To see the band being genuinely humbled by our support was beyond incredible. By the end of their set security was pulling out one crowdsurfer after another and I added watching crowdsurfing people to the list of sights that make me happy.