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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.

 
 
 

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