ArcTanGent Festival 2014 Clash Guide Pt. 1

ArcTanGent Festival is only in its second year, but is already becoming one of the biggest events for post-rock, math-rock and other experimental genres. It is the first festival that I have been to where I’m guaranteed to miss some incredible bands just because they clash with other incredible bands. So in an attempt to plan my weekend to minimise disappointment I’ve been brushing up on all the bands. Sad? Probably. Here is part 1 which looks at the clashes on the YOHKAI and BIXLER stages on Friday 29th. Here is the clash finder.

We have also created a Spotify playlist that has most of the acts included. That is 14 hours of music for you to engross yourself in!


 

Clash 1

YOHKAI STAGE

SUFFER LIKE G DID –  jazz | funk | instrumental | math-rock

VS

BIXLER STAGE

FLIES ARE SPIES FROM HELL – rock | ambient | instrumental | post-rock

The first clash of the weekend and also one of the most difficult decisions. Luckily if you prefer math-rock over post-rock (or visa-versa) you won’t have a problem. It is going to be a last minute decision, but I am currently pulled towards FLIES ARE SPIES FROM HELL for their epic post-rock stylings. We’ll see what my hangover tells me to do!

NOTE: There is a very slight overlap with ALPHA MALE TEA PARTY and MONSTERS BUILD MEAN ROBOTS who will be playing on the ARC stage.


 

Clash 2

YOHKAI STAGE

WE ARE KNUCKLE DRAGGER – alternative | metal | punk-rock | alternative-rock | groove-rock | math-rock | mathcore

VS

BIXLER STAGE

BIG JOAN – alternative | noise-rock | post-rock | punk | synth-rock

This going to come down to how heavy you like your music. I will be in the YOHKAI stage having my ears bludgeoned by the disgustingly sludgy WE ARE KNUCKLE DRAGGER. That pit is likely to make or break the rest of my weekend!

NOTE: There is a very slight overlap with MONSTERS BUILD MEAN ROBOTS and RUMOUR CUBES who will be playing on the ARC stage.


Clash 3

YOHKAI STAGE

LOST IN THE RIOTS –  rock | instrumental-rock | post-metal | post-rock

VS

BIXLER STAGE

OLYMPIANS – rock | drone | folk | indie | math-rock | pop

If you read my review of LOST IN THE RIOTS’ latest album you will be heading towards the YOHKAI stage to check them out. I should be going to see OLYMPIANS as I’ve not seen them and they are pretty damn cool, but LITR are so good that I am really tempted just to go and see them again, especially to hear some of the new material.

NOTE: There is a very slight overlap with RUMOUR CUBES who will be playing on the ARC stage. DIAGONAL start immediately after these sets end, so you might need to run!


Clash 4

YOHKAI STAGE

BATS – metal | rock | dance

VS

BIXLER STAGE

MEMORY OF ELEPHANTS – eclectic noise

Real easy decision for me. MEMORY OF ELEPHANTS are not to be missed and I’ll have seen BATS a few days before at The Flapper in Birmingham. If you prefer your music instrumental then you’ll be with me in the BIXLER stage, but BATS live show is guaranteed to be energetic, loud and in your face.


Clash 5

YOHKAI STAGE

PURSON – psychedelic-rock

VS

BIXLER STAGE

100 ONCES –  experimental | experimental-rock | instrumental-rock | math-rock | metal | progressive-rock | rock

I’ve been waiting to see 100 ONCES tear shit up for ages so I will be there watching and throwing myself around to their noisy math. I cannot say that I know much about PURSON, but if you want trippy you ought to get down to YOHKAI.


Clash 6

YOHKAI STAGE

ENEMIES –  rock | pop-rock | post-rock

VS

BIXLER STAGE

TELLISON – alternative | indie-rock | rock

Post-rock or Indie. It is an easy decision for me and I’ll be checking out ENEMIES, but if you lean more towards math than post you may want to check TELLISON out. They are just not for me.


Clash 7

YOHKAI STAGE

TERA MELOS – alternative | experimental | indie | math-rock | progressive | punk

VS

BIXLER STAGE

CLEFT – 2-piece | instrumental | math-rock | rock | post-rock

Ohhh, this clash hurts. If you like TERA MELOS then I am pretty sure you like CLEFT. I’ve managed to miss both bands live so I got a decision to make. As CLEFT are from the UK I am taking the chance to see TERA MELOS (and I am a gear nut so really need to see guitarist Nick Reinhart tap dance over all of his lovely pedals!)


Clash 8

YOHKAI STAGE

MAYBESHEWILL – alternative | instrumental | post-rock | rock

VS

BIXLER STAGE

EL TEN ELEVEN – rock | electronic | experimental | indie-rock | instrumental | post-rock

Originally nobody was clashing with MAYBESHEWILL, supposedly nobody wanted to clash with them. I am glad that has changed. Don’t get me wrong, they are incredible live. However they are far from my favourite band. If everyone was right about not wanting to clash with them then I’ll be the only person watching EL TEN ELEVEN. MAYBESHEWILL are touring their new album extensively though, so I recommend missing them at ArcTanGent and catching them elsewhere if you need to see them.


 

Next Wednesday: Part 2 looks at the clashes on the ARC and PX3 stage on Friday 29th.

game.SET.match – set and setting live in Seattle

My ears are still ringing and my adrenaline is still flowing. I can still feel the powerful performance given by set and setting deep within my veins. On what should have been an ordinary Sunday night in a nothing to write home about dive bar in the college district of Seattle, there are a select few of us who witnessed and experienced real life magic created through the instruments of four very talented musicians.

I’ve had the privilege of seeing nearly every single one of my favorite bands perform live and I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve felt the way I did after seeing set and setting perform. Post-Rock is a genre that captures our attention with walls of sound and production values that are often times impossible to replicate live. Very few bands I’ve seen perform are able to output the same energy and sound as on their albums.  Last year it was The End of the Ocean who made magic in Seattle on tour in support of a new EP, outperforming their recorded self. This year it was set and setting who took the distinct honor of capturing my imagination and my heart.

As the band set up their DUAL drumsets, I began to feel we were in for something amazing. Anticipation grew as the band opened with the short intro track to their debut album “Through the Unhindered Break of Day”, a three minute long low key build up composed through a few docile riffs and endless light cymbal tapping. The bar patrons had yet to truly take a notice to set and setting‘s presence. Then the moment the band busted in “Spiraling Uncertainties” it felt like the beginning of something truly brilliant. The aggression from Shane’s guitar work against Jon’s low-key bass and  the intensity of two drummers made me feel like there was no better place on earth I could be at that given moment. Ears began to perk up, all attention was now focused on set and setting as the band played under their own custom blue lighting. The crowd began to form around the stage as some closed their eyes and swayed while others encouraged the drummers Mark and Stephan to go faster and harder as if that was somehow humanly possible. It was.

The band’s third song escapes me as I was far too wrapped up in the beauty, but I believe it may have been “The Truth of the Path“. Sadly, the band exclaimed they only had time for one more after less than 20 minutes of performing. I had already decided in my head I was going to be the one to start the “one more song” chant afterward. But that idea never came to fruition because it wasn’t necessary. The band’s final song was “Essence of Paradox“, their  13 minute long magnum opus that felt like it was never going to end. And none of us wanted it to end either. Louder, faster, harder. Louder, faster, harder. The build up continued as a crowd in awe witnessed a band playing endlessly like the world was crumbling around them.

There are few things in this life that are true and pure. Being in the band’s presence as they performed “Essence of Paradox” felt like an honor and a privilege. If set and setting was a drug, I would have overdosed and died with no regrets. Performances this good and of this quality don’t come around that often, so when you experience one, you damn well better praise and thank those musicians. After the show I confessed to the band members that there a few post-rock bands I’ve seen live that have been able to replicate or come close to the quality of work found on their albums. set and setting exceeded even my wildest expectations, their album does their live act no justice whatsoever. set and setting deserve to be heard by all, post-rock fan or not. Magical, captivating and awe-striking enough to leave a crowd mesmerized, I cannot praise this band enough for their talents or the music they have created.

I feel like I’ve witnessed something truly great and beautiful and now I want to share it with the rest of the world. This is a band you need to see. If you live close to any of the cities the band is playing near over the next three weeks, it is your duty and responsibility to not miss this act. get ready to witness magic my friends.

Live Review – Maserati (w/ Joy Wants Eternity) @ Sunset Tavern — Seattle, WA 3/1/13

Picture this. You’re going to a concert to see a band play who you’ve been listening to for a while. You’re familiar with most of their work and/or maybe you’ve caught a few of their live videos on youtube. So prior to the concert you’ve got a pretty good idea of what to expect, right? That’s generally the case with most bands I see perform, post-rock especially so. Going into last Friday night’s Maserati show, I had no clue what to expect..and I certainly did expect the powerhouse performance the band put on for nearly 90 minutes.

On Friday Night Maserati, Joy Wants Eternity and local supporting band The Fruiting Bodies got together to play at The Sunset Tavern, nestled in the heart of old Ballard in Seattle. It’s a far cry from most venues in town. At the top of the list you’ve got concert halls like The Paramount, The Showbox and The Moore, each with their own distinct features and history, excellent acoustics and just all around great venues to catch a show. In the second tier you’ve got venues like Neumos, The Crocodile and even still El Corazon is a halfway decent place to see a cheap show. I expected this show to be at one of those second tier places and I certainly never expected a band like Maserati to be playing at nothing more than a tavern with a stage too small to properly accommodate a 5-piece band. However, once Maserati hit the stage none of it seemed to matter and for the next 80 or so minutes the band delivered one of the most energetic and impressive performances I’ve ever had the privilege of witnessing.

The most peculiar thing about Maserati’s performance was how their songs, particularly their newer material off of ‘VII‘ translates live. While on the albums drums aren’t the focal point of any particular song, Maserati’s live show thrives off the energy of drummer Mike Albanese. Mike overpowers the kit at the time and completely steals the show with relentless speed and aggressive fills. Meanwhile guitarists Coley Dennis and Matt Cherry stand opposite of one another one each side of the stage, impressively trading riffs throughout the band’s songs. While I’m sure its anything but the case, I felt a certain aura of one upsmanship in the air as each flawlessly nailed their leading segments in sort of an “anything you can do I can do better” way. It’s really impressive stuff the way these guys are able to replicate their technical songs to near perfection.

While The Fruiting Bodies and Joy Wants Eternity both performed well and got the crowd into their sets, Maserati really wooed the crowd and you could just tell people’s ears had really perked up as they took notice. Just a couple of songs into the set people in the front were dancing and moving the way you might expect to see people dance in a club scene of a mid 1980’s film. I walked away from this concert with a new found respect for Maserati. Their energy and enthusiasm towards the music they produce only further drives my love and respect for this genre of music that much deeper. – IamHop



Mono: Live at Leicester Cathedral — 12/07/12

Standing motionless in the archway of a church porch; looking out on the rain lightly fluttering against the dark night’s sky. The sound of Japan’s Mono soundchecking with “Pure as Snow (Trails of the Winter Storm)” from inside of Leicester Cathedral was majestic; whether from the music or the winter weather, I had chills. To replace the rain with a blizzard would be the only thing that could have made this moment any more perfect. And I hadn’t even yet made it inside.


A venue that could only be filled by such a band as Mono

Leicester’s own Dark Dark Horse opened the night. I’m not too familiar with their music, and so I can’t detail specifics about their set. The sound overall was polished and certainly enjoyable enough to tide me over until the main event. Highlights of Dark Dark Horse‘s performance were found in the longer, more sweeping tracks, and the moments in which the lead singer propelled his vocals to their limit. The final song, in particular, contained some beautifully ambient guitar-work. After Dark Dark Horse left the stage, a single piece of subdued classical music consumed the hall in wait for Mono‘s arrival.

The Japanese four-piece entered the stage with not a single word uttered, and began to play the opener of their latest release. “Legend” is one of Mono‘s most sensational, grandiose songs, yet even knowing this could not have prepared me for the overwhelmingly uplifting experience that was the song’s final crescendo. “Legend” was breathtaking, and to my surprise, its impact was in no way hindered by the complete lack of an orchestra. Just two guitars were able to perfectly emulate the melodies once carried by strings alone, leaving no gaps in the song’s composition. The dramatic appeal of the studio recording was perfectly replicated — even exceeded — thanks to the sheer volume of the guitars, in addition to the creative use of the timpani and gong by Mono‘s drummer, Yasunori Takada.

As on the album ‘For My Parents’, “Legend” was followed by “Nostalgia”, and beyond that, “Dream Odyssey”. I was expecting to be less impressed by these two songs; on the album at least, they’re not nearly as wrought or powerful as “Legend”. Despite this, “Nostalgia” still managed to overwhelm me during the song’s drum-heavy crescendo. It was much louder than I was anticipating — the dynamics more emphasized over the studio recording — making the track ever more impactful and with a greater sense of reverence from the audience. So far Mono had proven their capacity to expertly recreate their studio recordings in a live environment, however with “Dream Odyssey” they made the point that the live show is a unique experience, and should be revered as such. The third track from ‘For My Parents’, and incidentally their third song of the night, had a far more dreamy vibe than is felt on the album. The live version seemed somewhat subdued by comparison, with a greater focus on atmosphere and floaty effects than the usual melodies and crescendos. It was refreshing, and perhaps more in tune with the mood that the band had intended to convey when they wrote “Dream Odyssey”.

For the majority of the show’s remainder, Mono blessed fans with sensational performances of their favourite tracks from the band’s most accomplished album to date: ‘Hymn to the Immortal Wind’. “Pure as Snow (Trails of the Winter Storm)” served as the show’s emotional epicenter. The song explored the extremes of the band’s sonic spectrum, from the delicate and heartwrenching opening melodies to the chaos and furore of the song’s wind-swept climax — Takaakira Goto on his knees passionately orchestrating each growing moment of desperation and intensity. It was sublime. The closing track, “Everlasting Light”, was equally sensational — a song that understands and embraces the necessary beauty of restraint.


Pure as Snow (Trails of the Winter Storm)

The highlight though, for me, was undoubtedly “Ashes in the Snow”. I can’t even begin to describe what this song does to me, both on the album and especially in a live setting. This song was too beautiful; so overwhelming that I can’t put into words what it meant on the night. I had goosebumps, shivers, and felt a nervous fluttering in my stomach. The song was recreated in the most perfect form possible. I wish to have captured that moment but I know that no recording could have done it any justice. “Ashes in the Snow” was angelic. It was… transcendent. I’ve already run out of words. See Mono live, if you can. This should be on anyone’s bucket list.

Setlist:

1. Legend
2. Nostalgia
3. Dream Odyssey
4. Pure as Snow
5. Unseen Harbor
6. Follow the Map
7. Ashes in the Snow
8. Everlasting Light

(Note: A big thank you to reddit user Maut99 for providing these photographs)

Vessels Live @ Broadcast, Glasgow, UK, November 21 2012

(IamHop — A big thanks to BC for sending us this great report of a recent Vessels show he attended!)

Vessels are carrying out an experiment, they say.

Tonight, for the very first time on a stage anywhere, they are abandoning the majority of their
guitars in favor of a multitude of synths and a laptop. They’re not entirely sure how it will go, and
neither are we. Fingers crossed.

In another bold move, their set tonight includes, for the first time, a pair of covers, one of which
opens the show. Their cover of a remix of Nathan Fake’s ‘The Sky Was Pink’ pulses and throbs
and rattles the walls of the compact cellar venue. I had expected this to be punishing live, having
heard the recorded version on their website, and I am not disappointed. ‘Monoform’ follows, and is
greeted with howls of enthusiasm from the crowd. It suits their new kidney-disturbingly loud hypno-
synth sound, and everybody is happy.

We are starting to notice a troubling and unidentified crackling/hissing noise, as if some part of their
kit is on fire. Nobody can find the source, but there is no smoke, so they press on regardless with a
new song, ‘Myopic Biopic’ and the second cover, Modeselektor’s ‘Blue Clouds’. It’s all going down
well, but I am starting to feel a tad uneasy. The guitars, previously such a major part of the Vessels
live sound, are relegated to a supporting role. The synths dominate. Even the famous second drum
kit is reduced to snare, hi-hat and a drum pad.

Two ‘greatest hits’ next, ‘Later Than You Think’ and ‘Happy Accident’, and two more new
songs, ‘Attica’ and the bizarrely titled ‘Runting Grumbar’. As we approach the end, technology
decides to finish early and the laptop packs up. It all stumbles to an awkward close. The band are
apologetic, they fill in with some amusing banter, and the crowd doesn’t really mind. After all, it was
their first attempt at this, and where there are computers, there are glitches.

Personally, I am left feeling a little disappointed. Make no mistake, it’s fine stuff, it’s all done
extremely well, and the audience loves it, but I miss the old Vessels. The one with guitars, and songs.
I know that, as artists, they are free to do what they want, they don’t owe me anything, and if they
want to head off in a new direction, that’s fine. But I’m just not sure I want to follow them.

El Ten Eleven Live in Seattle 11/10/12

    Last weekend I had the privilege of seeing El Ten Eleven perform in my hometown of Seattle and it was by far the most unique post-rock concert I have ever been to. Their latest album, ‘Transitions‘, which received a 95% last month on Postrockstar,  has been in constant play in my headphones so I had really been looking forward to see how that material would translate in their live performance given how deeply layered most of it is. Sure enough, the duo performed many of the songs off of ‘Transitions‘ flawlessly. Dual-neck guitarist Kristian Dunn is an absolute master of his craft at executing the bands signature sound by looping everything from his own guitar to beats from drummer Tim Fogarty’s kit. Even though I had a pretty good idea of how Kristian was able to produce El Ten Eleven’s textured music live, the brilliance and execution never truly dawned on me until the band performed the title track from ‘Transitions‘ later on in their set. Even though Kristian explained to the crowd how everything was performed live, I have to believe that his spiel went completely over the head of the high-energy crowd as they begged for more music.  The band performed a well-rounded 90 minute set, covering both an excellent range of old and new material as a light show from the band’s newly built stage wall played behind them.

    As I mentioned before, the Seattle crowd was loud and really into the band and their unique sound. The show attracted roughly 400-500 people, which surprised me to be perfectly honest. For a genre that is somewhat obscure, post-rock shows in Seattle definitely attract crowds of people from all different backgrounds. The show was opened by an indie-rock band called Yourself and the Air who didn’t appeal to me but the hipster Seattle crowd ate them up. Following them was an excellent drum and bass electronic show by Michna, who performed his set through a laptop as he projected images onto two huge blow up balloons as a light show also played. Michna‘s performance is out of the ordinary but is definitely a visually stimulating show. The tour wraps up on 11/17 in San Diego so if you missed them this time around you might have to wait a little while to catch them again. Trust me, it will be worth the wait!

    Below you will find some photos from the show. Click any of them to be redirected to a photo album containing over 50 photos taken at the show!

Kristian channeling his inner Jonsi by playing bowed guitar!

Tim rocking the kit as the light show pulsates to his every hit.

This is post-rock!