So the 4th edition of the UK Tech-Metal Fest is only a fortnight away and collective excitement is starting to bubble in the blood. And much the same with Scuba Divers and Nitrogen, this can have a disorienting effect on the unprepared body. I cannot claim immunity from this deleterious effect, as my critical faculties have oft been rendered negligable by the sheer weight of Tech-Festian delights on offer.
So in a rough and ready attempt to re-focus my mind and give myself something to aim for, I am going to list my 5 “must see” bands playing at this years event.
Now, the way that UKTF is structured means that fans, if so dedicated, can watch every single band playing and naturally you should see as many as you can. But also natural, is the desire to relax in the summer sun, communing in unrestrained Bacchanalia with friends, both old and new. So drawing up an easily achievable goal of a few bands not to miss, can ensure a more perfect balance of aural and Platonic entertainment.
This is my list.
1) Plini – (European Exclusive) Thursday
Plini’s journey from an almost lo-fi bedroom progressivist to full fledged international live musician has been a slow and methodical one. Which is probably why such a tremendous amount of people are salivating at the prospect of hearing some of modern progs most aching beautiful tracks in a live setting. I am unashamed to say that I am one of those sobering, ravenous creatures. Whose hunger for Plini has grown unchecked by live satisfaction. That for a long time threatened to boil over. Thank God for Simon Garrrod. Thank God for Tech-Fest
2) Slice The Cake – (Worldwide Debut Exclusive) Main Stage – Saturday
It is starting to become apparent in the most declarative and steadfast manner that 2015 is the year for actualising the theoretical; taking projects that had only previously existed as Internet battered Zeroes and Ones, from the digital world into to the lime-lit haze of the lighted stage.
Second in this impressive parade of House Cats making the leap into the alley are Slice The Cake; the multi national Deathcore sensation. Bolstered by the fearsome twosome of Connor Jobes (Nexilva) on guitar and Toby Mills (Aeolist) on drums, this promises to be an intensely heavy show, full of fresh material culled from their as-yet-unreleased second album. Ollie Rooney of HAARP Machine will also be playing with Slice The Cake.
3) Agent Fresco – (Full and Acoustic Sets) Main Stage – Saturday and Sunday
Ok, I saw both of their sets at last years Euroblast and it left me a gibbering, lachrymose wreck. This time I’ll have my wife with me to wipe my tears and hold my hand. Plus they are playing new material from their burgeoning 2nd album, which misdirection might allow me to prevent my cheeks from becoming quite so flushed with liquid shame. Either way Fresco are unmissable!
4) Rolo Tomassi – Hand-On Printing Stage – Sunday
The world needs more Jazz based, Math infused, Pop focused, progressive Deathcore. Until the Zeitgeist catches up with the innate requirements of the indigenous populous there is always Rolo Tomassi. A band so arch that they took as their name the moniker of a fiction character, who was himself in the conceit of the drama, a fictional character. No wonder their music is so complex. Regardless of which complexity, its beauty shines unrestrained.
5) Decapitated – Main Stage – Sunday Headliner
The phrase “this isn’t Tech but…” has become somewhat ubiquitous in the UKTM Facebook group of late. Where the desire to share things you enjoy with like-minded people has overridden the basic focus off your collective. Decapitated’s appearance at Tech-Fest this year has much in common with this concept. These Polish Technical Death Metal stalwarts may not be every Tech Heads cup of tea, but their riff lineages legion. Plus seeing them in a venue as cosy and personal as the Newark Show-ground will be an experience in itself. I fully plan to avail myself of a prime position as near to the front as my middle aged fear of physical danger will allow me to watch Vogg and the lads do their destructive thing!
Supplemental: Metal Themed Rap Battle. – Sunday.
Now I’ve included this unofficial event in my “must see” list because it is inevitable that I see it, since I am taking part in it.
The idea came about when one of my good friends, Danny Pandolfi (aka Craft-D) informed me that he would be performing a spoken word set, at the festival. Now Craft-D has recently put 2 battles (2 wins) under his belt as part of Don’t Flop the Uk’s Premier Rap Battle League. And since I fancy myself somewhat skilled when it comes to rhyming, I thought I’d challenge him to a Metal Themed Battle. Hopefully this will remove the burning desire to start battling from my system. Should this happen my wife would be very pleased indeed.
So I’ve been writing my bars now for about 3 weeks and have just committed them to memory. I can’t tell you on how many levels I am worried about this. But if one is never nervous about the success of ones endeavours, one is not taking risks and sinking into the quagmire of inaction.
So if you are at TechFest, on Sunday and fancy 15 minutes away from the finest progressive metal that the UK has to offer; why not come and watch 2 grown men who fully respect each other hurl detailed, rhyming, metal themed insults at each other.
It’ll be fun.
See You in Newark.
– John Whitmore