Photo Credit: Abbi Draper
10 years of work finally culminates in three days of festival, described as the epitome of mates fest celebrating and championing underground and new music from the start, hailed as being cost effective, family focused and importantly zero clashes it’s a real shame to the UK technical, prog & djent scene that this festival will be on hiatus until further notice. Finalised with a monumental line up headlined by Loathe, Chelsea Grin & Born of Osiris along with fest favourites Aborted, Hacktivist, Kublai Khan & Paledusk the weekend was always going to have the send-off it deserved.
Hosting one of Loathes first show’s back in 2016 it seemed fitting given their monumental climb to date that they headline Friday night’s stage with the consistency of if Sleep Token / Deftones / NIN had a love child, Kadeem France engages the crowd instantly the ever-enigmatic frontman. Percussive brutality masterfully contrasted by moments of quiet they collectively managed to pause a room that’s been fuelled by movement all day mid-way through the set – an ever-present reminder of the collective nature of this crowd assembled and unity as one for the evening. Building to Heavy Is The Head a chest aching sarcophagus of sound and then exiting to a smooth jazz outro you’re left feeling finite having witnessed a window into the talented quartet, ILIIAITE ever ringing true to their performance style that frankly is unmatched for full rounded sound and a cohesive ability to structure and story.
Saturday’s highlights include Heriot, Debbie Gough’s guttural vocals cutting through the mainstage you can see why they are steadily having a cult like following of fans, frontman / bassist Jack Parker and guitarist Erhan Alman along with drummer Julian Gage complete the line-up riff charged, engaging and rousing – what more do you need. Kublai Khan’s down tuned hardcore are right at home with this audience, stupidly anticipated all day the whispers of “The room is going to not know what has hit, security better be ready…” and they weren’t wrong. Matt Honeycutt’s sheer presence on the stage is intimidating, the devastating wall of bodies he meets from wall to wall as the room emerges into two stepping & crowd participation all photographers are ushered out of the pit after a song and a half thus is the volume of crowd members coming over the barrier to join in. Headliners Chelsea Grin after numerous line-up changes since their 2007 beginnings, vocalist Tom Barber formally of Lorna Shore emerges into the dimly lit stage, an assault of senses from the beginning of their set the intense lighting reflecting the frenzied deathcore sound, strobe meets precision drumming and energetic playful dancing to contrast the heavy instruments.
And so to Sunday where Rude Record’s favourites Graphic Nature take to the main stage, bedecked with blue visuals fronted by Harvey Freeman; another band to watch and very much on the festival circuit this season, crowd favourite Killing Floor is sung back to him from the largest crowd of the day so far. Paledusk’s first time over to the UK and what a welcome, bassist Kazuki doesn’t spend a minute of the set with both feet on the ground preferring to kick and flip with bass in hand, vocalist Kaito has the crowd won over in seconds and when Area PD kicks in the crowd already know what is expected as it splits in half to two step front to back. Before Born of Osiris take to the stage we have an importune speech by event organiser Simon Garrod as humble in his approach as ever, he praises the Tech-Fest family and team profusely complete with presentation and raffle prizes accordingly. It’s an emotional sequence ever drilling home the vibes of being home in a room full of strangers that it’s not goodbye just see you soon. It’s more than a festival this is a community.
Ronnie Canizaro’s haunting vocals emerge from the speakers to a dark stage lit only by primary strobe colours, silhouetted in sound and colour Cameron Losch’s thunderous drumming creating an absolute wall of sound as guitarists Lee McKinney and keyboardist Joe Buras launch into Machine the room moves as one, three circle pits from front to back complete with inflatable weaponry that’s emerged from a cheeky crowd. BOO thundered the way through nearly an hour’s set covering easily ten years of music to the baying crowd and we couldn’t think of a more fitting way to end out such a monumental weekend of music.
If this Tech-Fest’s last hurrah as we know it, with such a high calibre of music on offer and the collective energy of crowd and crew alike there couldn’t have been a worthier for it to finish. RIP Tech-Fest, see you soon.
Photo and Review: Abbi Draper
Photo gallery featuring:
Friday: Exist Immortal, Forlorn, Hacktivist, Conjurer, Loathe.
Saturday: Aborted, Bound In Fear, God Eater, Vexed, Heriot, Kublai Klan, Chelsea Grin.
Sunday: Of Virtue, InVisions, Oceans Ate Alaska, Paledusk, Graphic Nature, Born Of Osiris.