2000 Trees Festival 12 – 14 July 2018
We were gutted to have missed out on 2000 Trees last year as it is one of our favourite festivals. This year, with the ongoing great weather, we kind of knew it was going to be a good one. It’s one of those festivals that you just know you’ll discover some new bands and have a great time in a really friendly atmosphere.
The festival started for us on the Friday and we had a relatively gentle introduction to the festivities with Holiday Oscar on the small acoustic Forest stage. He offered up a pleasant singer/songwriter style with some nice in-between song banter. There was an almost country feel to some of his small/home town tales. He also benefits from having a really good voice. With a motto of ‘only writing about real things that I know about’ it was a great start to the festival.
Moving over to the Axiom stage for Pins, our first thought on seeing them was thank god for a band that actually looks like a band! There are so many dull acts around these days it was good to see a group with a bit of style and glamour. But, importantly, they also have the substance to match the image. They’ve been around for a while but are new to us and have a sound which is dark rock n roll but with a bit of an electro feel. With their double drums and the electro backing they have a huge sound which gets the entire tent dancing. It’s a great mixture of garage rock and electro and how we think modern punk rock should sound. Hopefully we will hear a lot more from this band – they could/should be huge!
That’s a tough act to follow and Fatherson face two other disadvantages – the first drop of rain in a month and a lead singer appearing to be wearing a pyjama suit! Against those odds, they still bring a decent crowd to the main stage for their grungy, indie rock n roll. The 2000 Trees crowd is one who genuinely love their music. Fatherson were a bit too intense and sincere for our rock n roll heart but the crowd lapped it up and merrily sung along.
You always get some acts who perfectly match a festival, historically that was Frank Turner with 2000 Trees but in recent years that torch has been passed to Jamie Lenman. He plays a cover of ‘It Must Be Love’ and that pretty much sums up the vibe he creates at the festival. Songs like “Friends In Low Places” are treated like old friends by all present at the Forest stage. It’s really got to the point where Jamie equals the spirt of 2000 Trees. He’s authentic, genuine, a real ‘music’ person and that’s what this festival is all about.
It’s perhaps surprising that Dream Wife are so low on this festival bill given the national coverage they’ve enjoyed. They’re also a band that ooze confidence and class. A bit like Pins, they also offer up a genuine modern take on punk. It’s in your face but retains an element of indie melody. It’s also good to see a front person who really prowls the stage. They carefully balance the art of looking like they’re having fun but still retaining a sense of being intimidatingly cool. You need to catch this band as soon as you can because they’re surely destined for bigger things.
We Were Promised Jetpacks attract a huge crowd to the Axiom stage and, given the reception they get, you sense they should’ve been on the main stage. The tent was literally bursting at the seams. We don’t know if there is a genre called ‘adult emo’ but that’s how we would describe them or at least as a thinking mans emo! They certainly have a vitality and spark that the large crowd just loved. Mallory Knox share a similar position but we guess with slightly different influences. There’s certainly a very American feel to their sound – you’d never guess they’re from Cambridge! It’s probably why they are on the bigger stage as they have a very loud arena rock style. In all honesty, we prefer the more gutter rock punk of Pins or Dream Wife. But, again, that’s one of the joys of 2000 Trees, it bring together all the different styles of rock music.
Twin Atlantic are probably the perfect follow on to Mallory Knox. They’ve really nailed that big arena rock feel but with a more alternative twist. They work on the basis of big guitars and anthems whilst also having a lower key emo theme. Not surprisingly they draw a huge and enthusiastic crowd. It may be a bit short on subtlety, but it’s big on riffs and choruses. They end the day with a crowd that are happily singing and jumping along to their songs.
After a heavy night enjoying the silent disco and then an early start due to a blazingly hot tent…the shade of the Forest stage and the acoustic melodies of The Xcerts were a perfect start to the day. We were clearly not alone in thinking that as it was standing room only. The band clearly had lots of fans at the festival. Importantly not only did they sing along but they also treated the acoustic version of the songs with the attention they deserve (how many acoustic shows are ruined by innate chatter!).
If that was the gentle wake up, then Funeral Shakes properly get us up and out of our slumber. Once again it was great to see a band that both looked and played the part. They offer up a brilliant punky rock n roll sound. It might be just us, but they really reminded us of The Yo-Yos. That’s a big compliment given they released one of our favourite albums. The Funeral Shakes have that same feel of playing accelerated rock n roll. Kind of rockabilly but with a punk venom. Definitely a band that we will be finding out more about.
Asylum also offer up a high octane and very loud sound, but they have more of an indie feel. They draw more and more people to the Neu tent as their set goes on. So that’s definitely a sign of a job well done. In contrast, far from being new to the festival scene, Beans on Toast is a real veteran. Indeed, if you haven’t seen him before then it’s just a sign you aren’t going to enough festivals! Mind you, this is the first time we have seen him on such a big stage. It’s to his credit that even with this main audience he is still able to get across his one man and a guitar folk punk style. A lot of that is thanks to his genuine charisma which allows him to deliver both a political but also humorous line in on stage banter. He gets both old and new fans singing along as they lap up the warm sunshine and atmosphere.
Against much of the hard rock acts on display the more ‘hippie’ style of Demob Happy immediately makes them stand out. Appropriately they add some psychedelia and groove to their hard rock sound. They also benefit from being a three piece where all members contribute to the vocals. This helps the melodies of the songs to really shine amongst the rock groove. Mind you, that’s before they went a bit more mental with their last two songs which generated a surprisingly vicious mosh pit.
Speaking of mosh pits, Skinny Lister are always guaranteed to create a hyper atmosphere in their audience. They’re again another band who are just perfect for this festival. Normally songs that resemble sea shanties and the sight of an accordion would have us running out of the tent! But, their good time approach and unbridled enthusiasm is just infectious. If you add in beer, wine and sunshine even we found ourselves swaying to their gypsy folk punk songs. Certainly, the crowd lapped it up and we expect this was the most jolly the Cave had been all weekend (it’s primarily where most of the hardcore bands played).
The diverse rock sounds then continue as we go from that Celtic folk feel to the fuller bloodied rock sound of Moose Blood. Like the previous night’s headliners, they offer up a US flavoured emo punk style which is perfect for arenas (or large fields). That all builds things up nicely for Enter Shikari. A band who it is clear that a large proportion of the festival goers have come to specifically see. They deliver a set of well crafted emo rock tunes that capture the heart of the crowd. Whilst for us 2000 Trees is the perfect chance to discover new and smaller bands, it also offers up the opportunity for fans to see some of the biggest acts in the alternative rock scene. Enter Shikari manages to perfectly finish off a beautiful summer’s weekend…heck their set even includes a marriage proposal in the audience! So, 2000 Trees really brought it all this weekend….sun, fun, music and love!!!! What more could you ask for? We already can’t wait to do it all again next year!