Recovering from the initial wave of fantastic bands that performed the day before, we dusted off our proverbial shoulders and got ready to get right back at it. Today we would see the likes of instrumental mastery, a true set of firsts and the arrival of what can only be known as “The Sweetness Owl“…
11th July 2015
UK Tech Fest
Support Bands: Clockwork, Immersa, This Is Turin, Voices From The Fuselage, The Voynich Code, Heavy Metal Ninjas, Slice The Cake, Cyclamen, Agent Fresco, Heart Of A Coward
Kicking things off on the second stage were Clockwork, delivering reliable metal that you would expect nothing less from at the festival, the gauntlet was once again open . Before the arrival of main stage openers Immersa, delivering reliant grooves with the band’s bassist making his first appearance of the day. Before This Is Turin ensured that the level of energy was topped up on the second stage. Once again ping ponging our way back over to the mainstage we saw the appearance of Ex-Tesseract vocalist Ashe O’Hara delivering some of the most soothing vocal melodies so far into the festival with band Voices From The Fuselage. A definite highlight attracting a larger than usual crowd. Not before we jet back over to the second stage for the arrival of Portuguese metallers The Voynich Code delivering an admirable set, yet sadly with a smaller crowd.
Heavy Metal Ninjas :
When we say that the line up of UK Tech Fest is truly eclectic, the bands performing are from all different corners of the world, varying from genre to genre an undeniable highlight of the festival had to be the Maori masters Heavy Metal Ninjas. Being one of the first appearances the band have had over seas, the band culminated a small UK tour with their appearance at Tech Fest. As the name might suggest members appeared donning their costumes with supporting members in black the main man Richie Allan in an immaculate white get up complete with alien like contacts!
Delivering tasteful licks, similar to yesterday’s Sithu Aye the ninjas performed flawlessly. With sound being their ally the crisp leads sung through the speakers, soaring leads of “Melodyk” and many other Insterstellar Abduction treats. Though the real star of the show is the sense of song writing the band employ . Guitar taking center stage, an instrumental band seems even more likely to fall into the trap of mindless shredding. Though its evident that Allan was brought up on a hefty diet of Vai and other classic guitar virtuosos the Heavy Metal Ninjas deliver a performance that has their own identity all over it. The way the band work as a unit is admirable.
Slice The Cake :
Technology is often a double edged sword, in the wrong hands it can be a deadly weapon. Technology as an aid, a tool that can be used to brilliant effect forging forward in human advances, luckily today we are here because of the latter. Making their worldwide debut Slice The Cake perform live for the first time. Members hailing from Sweden to Australia and from the not so tropical Sunderland.
Nevertheless joined by Immersa bassist and for his second appearance at the festival drummer turned guitarist Connor helps out on guitar. Walking out barefoot our singer Gareth Mason is ready to make the band’s history with their first ever performance. After weeks of rehearsals there’s a minor hiccup where communication seems to slightly lost and a more nervous looking Mason appears when performing single “The Exile Part II : The City Of Destruction”. Though this is dispelled as quickly as it appeared as the band perform an incredibly tight set, given the fact that this the first time the band have performed. Truly overwhelmed with the amount of people there to see the band it is a sight to behold. Finishing up with a crowd pleaser that ignites a pit, run by the Ready Steady Cook moshers “The Man With No Face” this was one hell of a first show lads.
Service with a smile. A monicker that much of the big name conglomerate chains adopt and surprisingly a Japanese band called Cylcamen. Performing after Slice The Cake the band have most definitely got their work cut out for them. Delivering a spellbinding set the band are surely the happiest to be on stage that I have ever seen. Coming off the back of a tour with Exist Immortal the band deliver their unique brand of technical metal gone metalcore, complete with a peekaboo salute to Tech Fest from guitarists Takashi Katsunori and Masayuki Takao
With the sound doing nothing but enhancing the bands presence, lead singer Hayato Imanishi is firmly rooted on the front monitor screaming to his heart’s content. Sadly the crowd wasn’t as full as it should have been for this excellent performance. Often easy prey for bands that are more technical it can be easy for the live performance to be somewhat lack lustre. Full of vim and vigour the band perform a tight and technical set that would demand anyone attending’s attention.
Agent Fresco :
The real jewel in the crown of Tech Fest it would seem that the crowd are anticipating truly great things. Hailing from Iceland the band are a quartet who create some of the most heart rending music I have heard. Kicking their set off to a slightly smaller than usual crowd, Agent Fresco vocalist Arnor sheepishly walks on stage, what would happen next would be the stuff of legend for all festival goers. Slowly the trickle of punters begins to peak as Arnor’s haunting vocal delivery on tracks like the wounded “Wait For Me” describing when previously the singer had a breakdown mid set in Denmark. The piano delivery of lead single “Dark Water” signals the arrival of Destrier material along with second single “See Hell“.
The truly vulnerable delivery is mesmerising, at once inviting the audience to share in some of the most personal and difficult times in the singers past. A shy Arnor professes that much of the lyrical content of the first record, A Long Time Listening, takes inspiration from the loss he suffered as a result of moving to Iceland. Yet the beautiful portrayal of raw emotional power has everyone in the room transfixed. With guitarist Þórarinn Guðnason delivering some elevating riffs. It is quite the paradox that something as tragic would have such a beautiful back drop. Ending on an emotional “Implosions” where our charismatically bashful Arnor states the track is based upon losing the front man’s father but from his mothers perspective. It truly is a performance of unadulterated passion. Bringing a sense of heartache not felt from the likes of radio rock songs about ex girlfriends or hardships that rock stars face. Tonight we witnessed a naked set of emotions, a pregnable set list that has let everyone into the heart of Agent Fresco and these four charmers have won everyone over.
Heart Of A Coward :
Personally what I loved the most about UK Tech Fest was the fact that merely half an hour prior to the pneumatic stomping of Heart Of A Coward the public were essentially emotionally moved, yet in the blink of an eye its about being physically moved. The men from Milton Keynes appeared on stage and in an instant the stasis of heart warming love that was felt before is dispelled to make way for sheer pissed off aggression. Roaring onto the stage the band set the bar high from the word go with this explosive “Shade” from their Hope and Hinderance album.
Having previously played the main stage though a few rungs down the ladder Heart Of A Coward are more than deserving of the coveted head line slot . Announcing the band will at long last have their forthcoming album released this October the band launch into single “Hollow” which the crowd lap up. It would seem that Jamie Graham has the entire audience in the palm of his hand. Melding their own brand of ambiguous Tech Metal the band perform with a sense that a seasoned veteran would retain. No mean feat seeing as the band are merely six years old! Often in tandem with the kind of music the band play come the bone head tough guys, yet the pit tyrant’s seem to be elsewhere tonight. Instead an overwhelming sense of positivity is felt throughout the main stage.
Utilizing the classic British tongue in cheek delivery to their advantage not only are they devastatingly heavy but also fantastically charming. With the appearance of oh so many “waouuuu’s” at the festival (if you were there you know exactly what I mean) singer Jamie Graham creating a brand new festival in joke, we welcome the arrival of The Sweetness Owl. Combining both jokes from the band and the punters it’s just another testament to the closeness felt by both bands and fans at the festival. Tearing into a truly brutal rendition of classic “Deadweight” and finishing off with their classic “Around A Girl (In 80 Days)“. The charisma is ever present with the fact the band were told no to incite a pit, instead the singer aims to covertly describe a scientific phenomena when halfway through stating “I was shit at science anyway, you know what to do…” and from the looks of it everyone this evening knew exactly what to do.
Check back tomorrow for the final day of Tech Fest!