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2000 Trees Festival 2014 Roundup: Day 1

 
By on Wednesday, 23rd July 2014 at 2:00 pm
 

Small, intimate festivals are as common as poorly thought out Ed Sheeran being named most important act in black and urban music jokes.

They’re quite literally ten a penny. If that penny was actually £150…

So finding a festival which has sprung from the humblest beginnings, with a purpose and a drive that is simply the sheer love of music is relatively pleasing. 2000 Trees is a festival with an immense amount of heart and started by six mates who became disillusioned with the mainstream festival circuit. They were sick to death of the over-inflated ticket prices, the overzealous commercialism and the alienated feel they left with. With a Glastonbury ticket setting you back £210, with the addition of some nonsensical booking fee that is rising at a rate comparable to the rise of Isis, it’s understandable that some people would become disillusioned. But instead of moaning about it, the lads got together in 2007 and started 2000 Trees Festival at Upcote Farm.

In its eighth year, the festival opened its doors to a maximum 5,000 people to keep things at an intimate level, and with the mantra to showcase the best in new, unsigned and underground UK bands. This year was no exception. Thursday was for the early birds and those who had cunningly booked the time off work shortly after 2000 Trees 2013 closed the gates.

For those lucky enough to have pitched up at glorious Upcote Farm on the Thursday, like myself, you would have been treated to the talents of Bristol singer/songwriter Oxygen Thief and Reading’s Ben Marwood. These acts were playing on Trees’ second stage, which a few years ago was named by fans of the festival as The Cave. The first band I got to lay eyes upon after snaking along Gloucestershire’s whirling winding country roads were Johnny Foreigner, who provided the kind of aural assault that my mind needed to forget about all the speed cameras I’d raced past with no regard for country lane speed limits.

The following 45 minutes preceded to be a jarring wave of punk-y energy, interspersed with the odd yelp from Alexei Berrow and Kelly Southern. After twelve songs, all dripping with the anti-establishment edge the band are going for Berrow cut a figure as the sweatiest man in the South of England. Possibly even the world. Berrow held no quarters as he threw himself entirely into the feel of the festival: from set-opener ‘You Can Do Better’ to the final screeches of ‘The Coast Was Always Clear’, it was a glut of anarchic energy from onstage, which is bound to get the band noticed in the next year.

For Berrow and co.’s unreserved abundance of dynamism on stage, he was rewarded with a warm seal of approval and what certainly will add up to an invite back to the farm at a more popular slot. (8/10) They rarely forget a friend here at Trees.

Johnny Foreigner’s set focussed on a sense of anarchy, whirling the crowd into a frenzy. Gnarwolves capitalised on the palpable energy throbbing from within The Cave. The first mosh pits of the weekend were extremely kind during their set, with kids pussy-footing around, bouncing up and down with wide smiles plastered across their faces. When Gnarwolves stepped up, it signalled the end of this for the foreseeable future. Elbows were flying and every man with one of those stupid bushy hipster beards immediately threw themselves into the fray to try an impress the nearest girl in short denim shorts with a display of testosterone and violence. No, Gnarwolves playing did not induce time travel, it’s just what happens when a cool skate-punk band starts roaring about how ‘Smoking Kills’.

What the Brighton based three-piece did induce, apart from the first primal displays of viciousness of the festival, was a few roaring singalongs and a big hype around one off the up and coming talents of the scene at the moment. Not only do they have a wicked cool name, but in The Cave they displayed some big tunes with a lot of pop-punk heart and just enough nautical references to differentiate them from less brutal bands like Four Year Strong. Congrats lads, now lose the gash beards. (8/10)

Headlining the Thursday evening entertainment was Dan Le Sac (pictured at top) vs. Scroobius Pip. Quick breakdown: despite the vs. in the title, nobody had a fight. Which is a shame, as I think ole Scroob could probably have the midget DJ that is Dan Le Sac, for then he’d earn twice the money (available for representation soon).

The set was a change of pace from the previous two acts though, as there was neither a guitar nor a drum kit in site. Just a man with a comical shark hat on his head (Mr. Le Sac) and a taller gentleman with one of those hipster beards – but he had one before everyone did – so he can get away with that one. I was expecting a really lively set, as Scroobius has cut a name for himself as a superb showman -the British answer to Aesop Rock or Andre 300’. Instead, it was a bit flat.

The set relied on at least a modicum of the audience knowing the lyrics to more than just one of his songs, to give it all a bit more life. With this not being the case, Scroobius ended up cutting a rather lonely figure bouncing around the small stage, as Dan Le Sac laid down the beats. For the songs where there was a bit of a call and repeat, Scroobius’ showmanship shone through and he gave the farm another taste (he headlined 2 years ago) of the kind of live show people have become accustomed to from the Essex-made rapper. (6/10)

As Dan Le Sac skipped off stage the festivities for the evening did not end there. Unless you were one of those boring old farts who almost went to bed like me.

Around the campsites – from Camp Reuben to Camp Turner – small guerrilla-style acoustic stages came to life. Singalongs ensued and even the smallest, least well-known singer-songwriter drew in sizable crowds, and enough to get a fun vibe going on. The highlight for me was on 2000 Trees’ central busking stage, where Patrick Craig delivered a collection of songs with an immense sense of heart. It was no surprise that a crowd of nearly 300 people huddled around in the small stage in the cold, as Craig passed round an empty Coke bottle full of wine. There was an immense of community right there, and the kind of vibe (god, I hate that word, but it’s the only one for the job) that epitomised what 2000 Trees is all about.

Stay tuned for more of John’s 2000 Trees coverage on TGTF soon.

 

MP3 of the Day #808: Johnny Foreigner

 
By on Wednesday, 22nd January 2014 at 10:00 am
 

Johnny Foreigner have offered up a brand new song, ‘Le Sigh’, from forthcoming album ‘You Can Do Better’ to be released on the 10th of March on Alcopop! Records. Listen to and grab the mp3 for your very own from the Soundcloud widget below.

 

Tramlines 2012: Day 1 Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 15th August 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

Here at TGTF we’re big fans of Sheffield’s Tramlines and yet again, for one weekend in July, the best free festival in the country returned for one mass musical event that set the city alight. With every venue in the city opening its doors to up to 10 bands a day and with local, national and even a few international bands in the postcode for the weekend, it was sure to be a good one. Picture the Great Escape, in the north and for free and you’ve basically got Tramlines down to a tee. This year, I decided to stop playing it safe with lots of main stage bands and even a few band’s we’ve barely heard before in there with our favourites so with these 3-day reviews, there’s going to be plenty of new music to check out.

Friday came with a surprising amount of sunshine and as such, the first thing to do was to find a dark venue to go watch a band in. The o2 Academy opened up with local rock band Bluehearts (above) and whilst their description left a lot to desire, to kick off the weekend with such energy and stage prowess as Bluehearts did was something to behold. Whilst the music still needs some work before the band hit the whole country there’s enough potential in their breed of rock that falls somewhere between classic blues-rock with the flair of Manchester Orchestra or even Kasabian.

After this, it’s aboard a tram to catch the ever present Johnny Foreigner play a set on a tram. After their busker-bus show last year, the tram set seems quite similar, but at least its yet another novel way of splitting up the weekend and playing music to your fans and commuters alike. The sing-along’s are enjoyable even if the ride isn’t that comfortable. See the full show below.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nbWi0i-SToQ[/youtube]

After this it’s a bit more new-band guessing mixed with convenience as, heading up to the small yet immensely popular Bowery; alt-J are headlining. Before them come G R E A T W A V E S. The band’s breed of atmospheric music fills the Bowery and whilst many at the back are unimpressed, from the front its almost hypnotic. With a few more releases and a bit more familiarity under their belts, this unimposing duo could see support slots for Sunless ’97 turn into slots with the xx.

And tonight’s headliners, the one’s that the queue’s been round the block for are alt-J. Unfortunately, everything’s running very late in the Bowery tonight and it’s last-train-home time but for those who stayed; the Cambridge via Leeds band of the moment played a huge sounding set of tracks from their acclaimed debut record and TGTF has it on good authority that they’re worth catching on tour.

What will the rest of the weekend bring? More stages running to time we hope.

 

Live Review: Johnny Foreigner with Bearfoot Beware and We Are the Physics at Leeds Brudenell Social Club – 11th March 2012

 
By on Thursday, 12th April 2012 at 2:00 pm
 

There’s something special about the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds. Maybe it’s the fact that they seem to have the most eclectic variety of acts on in their small space, regardless of the band’s size (The Subways played here last year not long before their show at London Koko [reviewed here] and Dry the River [album review here] are scheduled to make a stop here soon.) Maybe it’s the unassuming layout of half Social Club, half cone-shaped venue. Maybe it’s just the friendly atmosphere and affordable drinks. Regardless of the reasons, they’re always up for putting on a good night and so tonight, Johnny Foreigner and company roll into town.

The first act TGTF catches is Bearfoot Beware. The Yorkshire outfit are no stranger to the Social Club, and seem to have the confidence from that familiarity as they stride through their breed of indie math-rock with precision. Tracks such as ‘Catbus’ and ‘Lemon Curd’ capture the imagination and the group can be proud of their evening’s outing. It’s warm and static at the same time with the aesthetic of bedroom recordings whilst sounding professional. It’s a delicate balancing act, but they pull it off.

Lead support and tour buddies for tonight’s headliners, Scotland’s We Are the Physics are also in good spirits. Currently working on album number two, the group’s disregard for traditional time signatures doesn’t hold them back as far as crowd engagement going. With bobbing heads from the crowd, a buoyant WatP power through a selection of tracks that could be singalongs if the right amount of people were infront of them. The comparisons to the late Dananananaykroyd and the Futureheads are there, but it has to be said that these physicists (professions as of yet unconfirmed) occupy a slightly smaller niche. ‘Bulimia Sisters’ could be both of the aformentioned bands, but moves in different ways whilst a selection of others are slightly confusing, but somehow in a good way. We’ll keep a watch on these guys.

After yet again hitting almost every city in the country in short marathon stints of gargantuan stamina, Johnny Foreigner’s second UK tour in support of their third record ‘Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything’ (album review here) has really rallied them a dedicated fanbase, ready to singalong to anything thrown at them. Starting at various locations in the crowd, fronting duo Alexei and Kelly throw the aptly named ‘Johnny Foreigner Vs You’’s melancholy “somewhere there’s a party that you’re not invited to / I don’t know when but I’ll get there soon” around the small venue. It’s not got the same effect they might hope given this evening’s crowd, but it’s unique and for that reason, it works.

Playing a selection of material from across all three records and also throwing in ‘Champagne Girls…’ from their debut EP (all those years back) proves to create a brilliantly diverse setlist. In an age of predictable singles collections, JoFo know that their dedicated fanbase can take more. Singing along tentatively to everything including recently rejuvenated material from second album ‘Grace and the Bigger Picture’, those present are seeing the Birmingham trio on top form. New material in the form of ‘If I’m the Most Famous Boy…’ and ‘Hulk Hoegaarden…’ slots in with maturity and rock edge with the band’s style of indie-rock. Almost everything the band play these days ends up sounding even better than on record. Ending with ‘Absolute Balance’, Johnny Foreigner ghost off having made yet another lasting impact on the Brudenell. Things have broken (mainly bass-related), but tonight’s been electric.

 

Live Review: Johnny Foreigner with Screaming Maldini and Stagecoach at London Garage – 21st November 2011

 
By on Monday, 5th December 2011 at 2:00 pm
 

With the launch of ‘Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything’ (review here), Johnny Foreigner decided to put on two parties. Billed as VsLondon and VsBirmingham, their label Alcopop! put together a showcase like no other with a billing which could make most other indie labels a little jealous. For one night only, VsLondon comes to the upstairs venue of The Garage in London and it promises to be a good one.

Arriving just in time to catch Screaming Maldini, I’m promised that Pandas and People and My First Tooth were lovely (and I’m certain that they’re right). Screaming Maldini really start to get warmed up but as venues will be venues, their set is cut short to make sure tonight stays on schedule. Doors close at 10 pm so starting at 5 does its best to keep everything going. Their shortened set proves to remove any filler the group may have and keeps their set short and sweet.  They’re definitely a band to keep a watch on for the next year or so as their music just keeps getting stronger.

Next up and the main support for the evening are live favourites Stagecoach. Having supported Johnny Foreigner in their winter tour last year, the groups are sound friends and their fantastic summer of festivals has if anything made them an even stronger live band. Tonight’s crowd are familiar with them and from start to finish, it’s manic. Playing from each of their EPs and singles, ‘Map to the Freezer’ and ‘Hieroglyphics’ are highlights of a fantastic set.

Everything’s been leading up to tonight’s headliners though. ‘Johnny Foreigner Vs Everything’ has created huge debate on NME.com and has received a generally warm reception most other places. Of course, with a reputation as a strong live band, the Birmingham trio tonight are leaving it down to the music, even if the crowd are chanting “Who the fuck is Ricky Martin?”

Beginning with new album opener ‘If I’m The Most Famous Boy…’  before rifling through a selection of their back catalogue, through both EPs and albums to date. In parts, crowd and band appear to be one, as the enthusiastic audience sing along to every word with pure dedication. This comes to a peak in the ever popular ‘Salt, Peppa and Spinderella’, both a JoFo staple and possibly the track they’re best known for as The Garage turns into pure chants all the way through to the climax of “turn on the real drums” to which the room becomes pandemonium.

Choosing to limit the work from their second record ‘Grace and the Bigger Picture’ to just ‘Every Cloakroom’ ever, it almost doesn’t feel right to not get ‘Feels like Summer’ or ‘Criminals’ instead focusing on more recent EP work, but no-one seems to mind. They close their main set with new single ‘You Vs Everything’ (Video of the Moment, using footage from the show), which proves that as one of the standout tracks on the record, it does itself justice live.

An encore of debut album ‘Waited up Til It Was Light’ closing tracks ‘Yr All Just Jealous’ and ‘Absolute Balance’ might close the band’s set in style, but the crowd continue singing a drunken medley of tracks not heard tonight until being steadily ushered out for doors. It’s been a big night for Johnny Foreigner and Alcopop!, one that will probably live in the memory for a long time. To those present, this band and everything it brings means a lot, and there’s a real camaraderie that comes with it. There was even cake!

 

Video of the Moment #640: Johnny Foreigner

 
By on Thursday, 24th November 2011 at 6:00 pm
 

The video for ‘You vs. Everything’ by Johnny Foreigner includes bits from the band’s album launch party earlier in November. They will be having a single launch party for ‘You vs. Everything’ on the 8th of December at Kingston New Slang.

Read Braden’s review of ‘Johnny Foreigner vs. Everything’ here.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nLgZMJTjrh0[/youtube]

 
 
 

About Us

There Goes The Fear is where we tell you about the latest music, gigs, and tours we love and think you should too.

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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