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2000 Trees Festival 2012 Roundup: Day 2

 
By on Monday, 30th July 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

After the torrential downpour of Friday night, the camp site at 2000 Trees is awoken to the unmistakable proggy hum of Antlered Man inside The Cave. The London four-piece have been touring the UK and Europe for the past year promoting their unique blend of experimental rock ‘n roll. The touring seems to have paid off in terms of spreading the word as the tent is almost half-full at the ungodly hour of midday. Treating the hundreds of muddy revellers to the best bits of ‘Giftes 1 & 2′ including ‘Platoono of Uno’ and ‘Misruly Roo’, it’s the anti-race opus ‘Surrounded By The White Men’ that excites the senses and really gets the adrenaline pumping for the day ahead.

Over at the Main Stage the sun is emerging from the clouds, as Warwickshire rockers Sharks blast into the fitting ‘Arcane Effigies’. The smiles are out and the multiple layers of waterproof clothing are finally being stripped by the justly large crowd that is amassing for Sharks’ accessible, modern slant on ’70s punk. Comparisons to The Clash are lazy but just – front man James Mattock stands at the front of the stage, reminiscent of a 21st century Joe Strummer but with vocal leanings toward Morrissey. The anthemic ‘It All Relates’ is the first real singalong of the day with the 1000-or-so fans basking in the sun and filling their lungs with the cleansing countryside air – and stomach with Badger’s Bottom cider.

Back in The Cave it’s time for a visceral battering from London’s Bastions. It’s a very loud, very sharp blast of ear-piercing ferocity to a circle of die-hard fans and hardcore enthusiasts. The pumped up quartet throw themselves around the stage and into the crowd, whipping up a muddy frenzy inside the marquee. Rushing through ‘Visitant’, ‘With Love’ and a mind-blowing rendition of ‘Grief Beggar’, Bastions prove themselves worthy of their place mid-way through the day and as one of the best hardcore bands in Britain.

Over at the third stage, dubbed the Leaf Lounge, are a band who have played every single 2000 Trees festival since it began back in 2007. Jim Lockey & The Solemn Sun have been making friends in all the right places, particularly folk rock hero Frank Turner. A favourite of anyone who has ever attended this humble Cheltenham festival, the local lads have packed out the tiny tent with many standing in the flood of mud outside. The deafening renditions of ‘New Natives’ and ‘Waitress’ from the stage and crowd alike ricochet off the inside of the tent, deafening the tightly-packed crowd and spurring on the party. A short set this late in the day, but everything you could have wanted.

Sub-headlining the Main Stage are a band that 2000 Trees have been trying to book since the beginning. Pioneering post-hardcore outfit Hundred Reasons might not have released a new LP since 2007, but that doesn’t matter. This evening they’re bringing their breakthrough opus ‘Ideas Above Our Station’ to a packed Main Stage that has turned into a swamp over the weekend. Entering the fray to rapturous applause, the Aldershot mob dive into ‘Kill Your Own’ and ‘No Way Back’ with pure energy and the genuine feeling they’re happy to be back. However, the intensity fades away all too quickly as the former chart-bothering quartet slip into the motions and appear to lose the initial drive and passion. Of course the big hits still hit hard and ‘If I Could’ proves a particular highlight with 2000 20-somethings recalling their angst-ridden youth for a few minutes of delightful shouting. As the last note of ‘Avalanche’ rings out the crowd disperses with the odd mutter and moan, after years of waiting it finally happened – but it was meant to be so much more.

Closing the -da2y extravaganza of British musical beauty are the Welsh noiseniks Future of the Left (pictured at top). Their amalgamation of post-hardcore, noise and ballsy rock ‘n roll is heartstoppingly loud and charged with unadulterated rage that drowns the mud-caked onlookers. Opening on the powerful ‘Arming Eritrea’, Andy Falkous’ unmistakable yelling echoes inside The Cave, forcing its way out into the night. Following on in quick succession with ‘Small Bones Small Bodies’ and ‘Sheena is a T-Shirt Salesman’, the fists of fury are getting their nightly work-out in the ever-growing mosh pit.

Falkous is on top form with his irreverent humour and dry wit receiving a wholesome airing, making full use of the C word from start to finish and not giving the smallest of fucks what anyone thinks. Throwing in a couple of Mclusky numbers makes for a unique setlist that risks losing attention from fairweather fans, but ‘Robocop 4 – Fuck Off Robocop’ (tonight dedicated to Andre the Giant) comprises of everything Future Of The Left represent – it’s chaotic, funny, stilted yet perfectly structured. Closing on ‘Lapsed Catholics’ the dazed crowd stagger back to their tents in the pitch darkness of Upcote Farm with bleeding ears and rattled bones. The Cardiff collective prove themselves worthy of a headline set with a Main Stage quality performance. If they return for 2013, it can definitely be bigger and better…and louder.

 

(2000 Trees Festival 2012 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #250: Maybeshewill

 
By on Friday, 27th July 2012 at 1:00 pm
 

Having stormed two stages at the Cheltenham festival the other week, once on the main stage and once on the second stage, The Cave, Maybeshewill are most certainly a band on the forefront of music’s attention. Whilst the UK post-rock scene is arguably led by the very band that headlined, 65DaysOfStatic’s more electronic influence may leave a gap in between And So I Watch You From Afar and Mogwai for the Leicester group.

They’re hardly a new act, with their third record ‘I Was Here For a Moment, Then I Was Gone’ released mid-way through 2011 possibly being their most definitive record to date. But to many ears, even at a festival like 2000 Trees which models itself on independent new music, Maybeshewill are still a relatively fresh band.  This lack of public knowledge about them, however, shouldn’t lessen your opinion as most of their aesthetic is DIY through their own company Robot Needs Home. If you need more convincing, check out the reviews from their most recent album. They speak for themselves.

Having toured relatively relentlessly for the last year, the band are due to set out on one last UK tour in October before vanishing under the UK radar for a while so be sure to catch them there. We’ll tell you about the dates when they become available. Until then, enjoy ‘Red Paper Lanterns’ below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjhZBGIAb9o[/youtube]

 

2000 Trees Festival 2012 Roundup: Day 1

 
By on Tuesday, 24th July 2012 at 2:04 pm
 

How fitting it is for a music festival that prides itself on promoting the best of British, for it to rain. And not just the odd light shower, tropical monsoons that haven’t been seen since Noah swept across Cheltenham, turning a once grassy field into six inches of sludge. But that doesn’t matter because we’re British and we soldier on regardless. But it is handy there’s a tent stage to hide in…

Opening the biggest tent at 2000 Trees, dubbed The Cave, are the hardcore hooligans Crooks. Kickstarting a midday mud mosh to a half-full crowd of dazed onlookers, still zonked after the night before, their energetic and raucous half hour is a glorious display of Polar.-esque hardcore with the odd Rinoa post-metal rhythm. As local lads to the festival, they appear genuinely humbled to receive such support at this time of day, but things are just getting started.

It’s an atmosphere of anticipation and sadness before run, WALK! take to the stage. For the past few years they’ve been steadily carving a name for themselves on the UK circuit and achieved cult status amongst the general gig-going public. But now, on the cusp of releasing their long-awaited debut album ‘Health’, the dynamic duo are calling it a day. The Cave is still filling as the noisy two-piece start blasting out their brash, anarchic indie-metal (if there is such a thing), with little time for crowd interaction. Matt Copley’s vocals are secondary to the rhythm section that rages on forcefully, engulfing everyone like an amorphous blob of sound. Elements of Lightning Bolt and Fuck Buttons are thrashed out chaotically, igniting the first circle pit of the day, as run, WALK! finish seemingly as soon as they’d begun. A quick hug between the two signal the end. A sad situation.

Thankfully the sun has finally started shining to try and lift the mood. The Main Stage area is a waterlogged patch of overgrown grass, steadily being trampled by thousands of pairs of wellies. Leicester instrumental outfit Maybeshewill are no strangers to 2000 Trees, and their fans are falling in line to watch the five-piece (complete with two extra members on strings) deliver a satisfying helping of post-rock with a side order of power. Alternating between the grandiose and the frantic, Maybeshewill’s rolling waves of sound wash over the captivated audience who are gradually becoming stuck in the mud. ‘Not for Want of Trying’ is the crowning moment of the performance as 2000 Trees erupts in a state of rage, screaming the words to the infamous “mad as hell” speech in ‘Network’.

Turning this madness into radness are the Mancunian skankers Sonic Boom Six. With the magnetic Laila K peering out into the ever-growing sea of punks and partiers, SB6 are the ultimate festival band – nothing but bangers and mash-ups. Dropping the likes of ‘For the Kids of the Multiculture’ and ‘Bang, Bang, Bang, Bang!’, it’s the mini-covers that excite Cheltenham the most. Throwing in samples of Lily Allen and Jessie J add to the poptastic, school disco vibe but flowing into ‘Poison’ by the Prodigy during ‘Virus’ receives a monumental response from ravers young and old. Although it’s the well-placed rendition of Wyclef Jean featuring The Rock’s ‘It Doesn’t Matter’ that puts huge smiles on the faces of everyone within a certain age bracket.

Slowing things down later in the afternoon are TGTF favourites Dry The River. Since finding fame earlier this year with debut album ‘Shallow Bed’, the folky fivesome live up to the hype. Opening on ‘No Rest’, the bodies amassing at the Main Stage are pouring their hearts into the passionate choral lines while Peter Liddle and Matt Taylor’s beautiful dual falsetto soars majestically into the surrounding fields. Forcing as many tracks into their set as possible, including ‘Bible Belt’ and ‘History Book’, the sun-drenched revellers soak up the emotive, acoustic melodies that Britain does so well.

Back in The Cave, the only American at a British music festival is doing his best to destroy the tent from the inside. Former Alexisonfire vocalist Wade MacNeil joined Gallows last year after Frank Carter’s departure, to a mixed reaction. But the previous worries can be set aside after tonight’s visceral attack of hardcore horror. After opening on ‘Misery’, Wade launches himself into a huge puddle of mud, covering himself from head to toe – spreading it all over the stage and front row. Steph Carter plays a much more integral part of the vocals nowdays, commanding the more ‘Londony’ sections that Wade simply couldn’t pull off convincingly. Gallows, though, are still Gallows. Inked up punks who love nothing more than to scream and smash their way through every gig until every bead of sweat has hit the floor. Spitting and snarling through ‘True Colours’, ‘Death Voices’ and ‘Abandon Ship’ amongst other favourites, even a cover of Minor Threat‘s ‘Seeing Red’, new track ‘Last June’ opens the floor to a veritable rat’s nest of turmoil. Welcome to the family, Wade.

Gallows’ punishing display has cracked the clouds wide open and the rain is tumbling down ferociously. But in the comfort of The Cave, Pulled Apart By Horses (pictured at top) are headlining to a capacity crowd. The Leeds-based maulers have become a mainstream success since their last appearance at 2000 Trees, drawing over a thousand people into the intimate sweatbox. Lashing their way through ‘The Crapsons’, ‘V.E.N.O.M.’ and new release ‘Bromance Ain’t Dead’. The constant crowd surges toward the front crush the die-hard fans at the front who show no signs of stopping stripping their throats raw. ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’ energises the pit to maddening levels and ‘High Five, Swan Dive, Nose Dive’ lifts the volume to deafening levels inside the big blue home of metal. PABH are noticeably grateful for the reception they receive tonight, especially as festival mainstays 65daysofstatic are currently demolishing the Main Stage. They’ve come a long way from clubs in Leeds to headlining a tent at Britain’s foremost new music festival – a testament to their longevity at the front of the new breed of rock ‘n roll.

 

Preview: 2000 Trees Festival

 
By on Thursday, 17th May 2012 at 9:00 am
 

Winner of the Grass Roots Festival award at 2010’s UK Festival Awards, 2000 Trees (12-14 July) has quickly become a staple part of the boutique festival scene. Since its early beginnings in 2007 with just a 1000-person capacity, this year 4500 people will don their wellies and head on down to Upcote Farm, Gloucestershire. And what a line-up they have to offer.

Headlining the 2-day extravaganza are the post-rock favourites 65DaysOfStatic  and Brummy indie cohorts Guillemots (pictured at top). But it’s not just the Main Stage bill-toppers to excite the crowd, TGTF faves Dry the River are also making an appearance as well as the new-found-folkies The Futureheads. But the biggest coup of the weekend is the booking of Hundred Reasons who 2000 Trees have tried to snap up for the past four years, and it’s finally happened. They’ll be performing their 2002 Top 10 album ‘Ideas Above Our Station’ in its entirety.

But that’s not all 2000 Trees has in its arsenal, since the introduction of the new ‘heavy stage’ last year – dubbed The Cave – interest has skyrocketed from alternative music fans. Invading The Cave this year are Three Trapped Tigers, Pulled Apart By Horses, Future Of The Left, Gallows, Rolo Tomassi and Lower Than Atlantis to name a few.

To keep the festival especially green, all of the bands are from the UK to cut down on fuel costs and emissions. And this summer weekend truly does showcase some of the best new music that Britain has to offer, from varying ends of the spectrum. And there’s a brilliant new-age hippy vibe, what’s not to love?

Unfortunately 2000 Trees is sold out this year, but there may still be competitions running to win tickets or you could hassle your friends with tickets into selling it to you. Because one thing’s for certain, it’s going to be a special weekend for British music.

 
 
 

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We love music that has its heart on its sleeve, tells a story, swims around our head all day or makes us dance like no-one's watching.

TGTF was edited by Mary Chang, based in Washington, DC.

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