Opalescent. I overheard this word being used by a concert-goer to describe their experience at UK TechFest 2015, and this is one word that I cannot get out of my head. At first I was confused by this description, but as more time passes I am becoming more comfortable with it. About 700 attendees assembled between July 8th-12th this year on the beautiful grass plains of Newark-on-Trent, England to watch their favorite metal bands perform inside huge aircraft carriers which housed two stages.
The first large main stage hosted international touring acts like Monuments, Decapitated, Slice the Cake, and Nexilva, and a smaller second stage where I played with my band Kardashev alongside Portuguese tech-death forerunners The Voynich Code and our label mates The Room Colored Charlatan.
I got a kick out of that word. Opalescent. At first I would have never used that word to describe the experience. In fact, nothing about the festival was glamorous; it was truly a rowdy and drunken ruckus from beginning to end. The Newark Showground was transformed overnight from a gorgeous grassy plain to a sprawling mess of smelly drunk metal dudes getting sunburned and sitting around talking (or screaming) about their favorite bands, whether or not djent is a legitimate musical genre, and if putting triggers on the your drums is cheating (it’s definitely not!).
The festival grounds did have bathrooms with running water and showers, but nobody in their right mind would ever step naked into the sea of garbage and hubris from overflowing toilets that subsumed the shower facilities. So Jaime and I did the only logical thing and camped for four days, wore the same clothes every day, ate store-bought bread and peanut butter, and drank a ton of cheap English beer (Carling, which is usually described as tasting like “hot fuzz”).
It seemed like we were roughing it and that opalescent word seemed completely inappropriate… but after waking up on Sunday morning to the gentle patter of rain on our tent in the English countryside, spending the afternoon with our newly-made friends from all corners of the globe, and watching Monuments play a mind-blowing instrumental set, maybe I need to rethink it…