ArcTanGent 2017: Ten acts to see

ArcTanGent specialise in all things weird and wonderful in alternative rock. We pick out ten artists worth seeing if you make the trip to Somerset this August

Preview by Jonathan Rimmer | 18 Jul 2017

Metalcore has tendency to be quite tacky and formulaic (we’re looking at you Motionless in White), but Converge have never been in a band to play by the rules. Anyone who’s heard their seminal record Jane Doe, which was re-recorded this year as a live album, will know to expect angst-ridden vocals, cacophonous blastbeats and rapid-fire Slayer-esque riffage. In other words: organised chaos. It’s their only UK show of 2017 so don’t miss out. Friday, Arc Stage.

A band for the hardcore kids, Defeater are powerful and full of energy. They might seem angry and directionless at first glance, but there’s method to their moodiness. Each of their records has dealt with weighty overarching concepts and their lyrics are told from the perspective of a troubled protagonist. Unsurprisingly, this sound is no less intense in a live setting. Saturday, Bixler Stage.

Explosions in the Sky
Almost every The Skinny reader will have heard of or read about these guys at some point – after all, they seem to have soundtracked every other film we’ve ever reviewed. It’s not hard to see why: their crescendo-oriented post-rock sound is nothing if not cinematic. This is their only show on these shores in 2017 so catch them before it’s too late. Saturday, Arc Stage.

Future of the Left
One of the most underrated bands in the UK today. Born from the ashes of beloved cult act mclusky, this Welsh act have been slaying festivals like this for the past decade. They’re noisy, rugged and sarcastic, with no interest in pandering to anyone or anything. If dry witted comedian Stewart Lee was a band, he’d probably be these dudes. Thursday, Yokhai Stage.

God is an Astronaut
Another post-rock band playing their only UK show this year – we’re sensing a theme here. But Irish band God is an Astronaut very much have their own sound. They draw a lot from space rock icons Tangerine Dream, using projected footage to create a stunning audio-visual show. Perfect for a three-day camping festival under the stars. Friday, Arc Stage.

Halo Tora
We’d be remiss if we didn’t shout out a quality Scottish act on the card. If you’re somebody who remembers 2000s’ alt rock with a degree of fondness, then Glasgow quintet Halo Tora are a must-see. They’re expressive, atmospheric and progressive with their song structures. And when we drop the ‘prog’ tag, we mean in the modern sense of the word (Oceansize or Karnivool) rather than the overblown 70s stuff. Obviously. Saturday, PX3 Stage.

Reading through the recommended artists so far, you’re probably thinking: “All well and good, The Skinny, but I’d love to hear some abstract rap-infused indie rock made by beardy Christians.” Luckily, Arctangent has you covered in the form of Listener. Led by poet and lyricist Dan Smith, the trio split audiences down the middle, but you might find yourself on the appreciative side. Friday, Arc Stage.

Only metalheads could name a genre after the onomatopoeic sound a palm-muted guitar makes. However, even if ‘djent’ or technical/math metal isn’t ordinarily your bag, you might find much to enjoy about TesseracT. If you like talented vocalists in the mould of Jeff Buckley and Chris Cornell, then melodramatic frontman Dan Tompkins is reason enough to check them out. Saturday, Arc Stage.

Twinkly Midwest-inspired guitar music has obviously enjoyed a big revival in recent years, but TTNG were jamming this style long before it was cool. Previously known as This Town Need Guns, their newest album is less angsty but just as pretty. If they seem out of place alongside some of the heavier bands, it’s worth noting Tim Collis may well be the most technically gifted guitarist you’ll see all weekend. Friday, Arc Stage.

The opportunity to see Japanese math rock should be enough to convince you Arctangent is worth a look, but Tricot aren’t here to fill the role of token weirdoes. Contrasting complex rhythms with sugary pop melodies, they’re a real breath of fresh air – even on a line-up as forward thinking as this. Saturday, Yokhai Stage.

ArcTangent 2017, Fernhill Farm nr Bristol, 17-19 Aug, tickets sold out but an official festival resale takes place on 1 Aug at 9am – details here.