2000 Trees Festival
Upcote Farm, Gloucestershire
added: 16 Jul 2012
// gig date: 16 Jul 2012
reviewer: Jamie Tipson
2000 trees just keeps getting better and better, selling out every year, now in its sixth! the beautiful surroundings in the grounds of Upcote Farm in Gloucestershire make this not only a fantastic music festival but a wonderful weekend away in the countryside.
With the weather ruining the paths and arenas, and it raining a majority of both Friday & Saturday you would expect some moaning and groaning, and it being the main talking point. Well it wasn't.
2000 trees is perfectly organized, a team of music lovers behind the reigns makes this festival feel personal with an intimate atmosphere with just 4,500 festival goers. Its the right size to enjoy the music without getting crushed, and the right size to be able to actually get to the bar, toilets and food stalls.
Boasting fantastic food stalls to meet both vegetarian and meat eating punters, highly encouraging recycling and green products and a line up to satisfy every music lovers needs, what else would you want from a festival?
I started Friday with 'Freeze The Atlantic' featuring members of 'Hundred Reasons' and 'Reuben', both bands who I personally adore. On paper they have a lot riding on them, and they deliver, their pop-rock approach differs slightly from what you'd expect but with catchy and exciting songs under their belt, the release of their debut album in September looks promising! You will be hearing the name around, a lot.
'Max Raptor' after being described in the guide as 'The sound of Black Flag forcing Jon Bon Jovi - at gunpoint to go write a hardcore album' I had to go check out these lads from the midlands, writing catchy classic British Punk Rock, singer 'Will Ray' gets the crowd instantly under his charm. Belting out favorites like 'The King is Dead' and 'Obey the Whips' these guys have what it takes to stick around the scene for years to come, they fully deserved their main stage second set.
The Cave stage featured a more alternative lineup than the main, and with weather permitting I decided to stay there for a majority of the day, not only was the lineup killer but I was trying to spread out the heavily hyped up main stage line up on Saturday.
With more British Punk on the way 'The Computers' pulled a huge crowd into The Cave, dressed in all white it was inevitable that frontman Al would at some stage get muddy. And he did. Crowd surfing with guitar in hand, he ended back up on the stage covered and shoeless. The set was frantic and crowd involved, a firm favorite of the weekend. They mean business and they got it, their blues punk sound is fresh and energetic just like their live show.
Highly anticipated this weekend was 'Rolo Tomassi's evening set, described as a mix between jazz, prog and hardcore, 'Rolo Tomassi evolve your ears, eyes and spirit for you to adjust to their mighty and genre dividing sound. 'Eva Spence's vocals soar and burst, one minute your being eating alive by a raged Vleosorapter the next your being embraced by a soft and vibrant cloud of awesomeness. Their sound is hardcore but the veins run much deeper.
Taking to the main stage 'Dry The River' gain a huge crowd, their stunning debut album ' Shallow Bed' which was recently released fueled sing alongs from the awaiting crowd from the outset. Being compared to Elbow, Radiohead and Wild Beasts these guys have some big shoes to step into, but they will. Describing their sound as Folk Pop they have enough sensitivity to drag you in and enough swagger to keep you there. Expect even bigger things to come from 'Dry The River'.
Sunderland's 'The Furtureheads' have calved their way into cult post-punk territory, instantly recognizable with their own unique sound, catchy and intelligent, which make them a pleasure to watch sub headline the main stage. The set was fueled with their hits, such as the popular Kate Bush cover 'Hounds of Love', 'Skip to the End', 'The Beginning of the Twist' and the brilliant 'Radio Heart' these guys have just released an A capella album which they played songs from earlier in the day. Confident and worthwhile 'The Futureheads' are exciting and welcoming to watch.
Wanting to catch both headliners, I managed to catch at least half of each, both incredible both fitting for headline slots.
'65daysofstatic' light up the stage both presence wise and literally… refreshing to see an instrumental post-rock band headline a festival is intriguing and long awaited for me to see. Anything but motionless, they pound way at their instruments and make it captivating to watch, fantastic electronics and post-rock guitars make this atmospheric and exploding. They know when to bring it down, and then to build you back up. Its good to have them back.
Headlining The Cave are 'Pulled apart by Horses' after recently releasing their second album 'Touch Love' the rave reviews have been flooding in, and supporting high profile bands, their time is definitely now, they have the press and the people in their hands and they will keep them there. Bashing together hardcore and upbeat huge songs they are a joy to watch, described as 'The greatest live band in Britain' by the Observer is ruddy huge! they have people where they want them.
Bashing out their hits which included, 'I Punched A Lion in The Throat' and 'High Five, Swan Dive, Nose, Dive' and more recent single 'Venom' they ruined The Cave tent, and left people panting for more. The lads from Leeds delivered a monstrously riff heavy set which is set to lean them towards more high profile slot filling. Get in.
So Saturday morning the rivers of mud still run around the whole site, people embracing it more than avoiding it, with some even surfing in the mud, gaining huge cheers from spectators!
'Antlered Man' were first up on The Cave stage, being described as The British 'System of a Down' they sounded more Sludgy/Desert Rock, you could hear a slight QOTSA influence but deliciously harmonic and riff driven, one song even birthed a flute. They got my vote.
After 'Richard Clarke' canceling on The Greenhouse stage I was told that 'Inme's' very own Dave Mcphearson would be replacing him, sitting on bales of hay it was a fantastic setting to watch this great frontman and solo artist perform. After admitting he had a slightly heavy night, he ended up blowing the crowd away with some new solo material and a few 'Inme' classics, Dave's soaring vocals and incredible guitar playing, were a few spectators personal hangover cure's. A true pleasure to watch.
'Brontide' were up next in The Cave. Being able to capture and hold you, being an instrumental band is a great achievement and 'Brontide' do so, so well. Described as post-rock-meets-metal, the description perfectly matches the sound, with jaw dropping riffs and delicate fills the future of post-rock is definitely well in their court.
I've reviewed 'Arcane Roots' a fair few times and everytime I see them they get just better and better and rise the bar again and again. Packing out The Cave it was certain that everybody was keen on seeing what all the hype was about. With a new album being recorded and due out early next year, the recent tour and this festival date was an immense opportunity to hear the new tracks. They've long lost their Mars Volta and Biffy tags in my opinion, and are rising up on their own. Their prog-math-heavy rock sound that is going to be so vital to your ears in the next year or so will be hugely welcomed everywhere, and with the new songs sounding so huge, fresh and vibrant 'Arcane Root's will absolutely destroy everything in their path.
After tearing stages a new one a few years back with their debut album 'Food', 'Zico Chain' haven't been as lit up as they were in previous years, with such huge songs like 'Where would you rather Be' and 'Pretty Pictures' its always hard to rise up over them or not get compared to them when new material surfaces. The new songs sounded great and with additional backing tracks and a DIY approach the love and determination shows, its great to see a band so excited about their new material and playing shows, its just a shame the crowd was one of the smallest of the weekend.
The crowd then surfaced again for the highly anticipated 'Turbowolf' with chants way before the band were on, they have gained a cult status with the fan base. Mixing so many genres into one from 80's psychedelia to thrash punk! Mixing Motorheads raw power with The Mars Volta's energy they are a truly inspiring band to watch and hear.
Props to 2000 trees's booking man, what a deal. Having 'Hundred Reason's added to the lineup after the initial post is like finding 20 quid in your jacket pocket. With the sad news that they will be disbanding after the end of year tour, what an opportunity of seeing one of the best ever British bands in action. The sun was out, the people were out and everyone was revved up for them.
They played the epic debut album 'Ideas Above our Station' in its entirety, if you haven't heard this album buy it and see them in November. It will be the best decision you've ever made.
Huge sing alongs of favorites 'If I Could', 'Falter' and 'Silver' along with the other incredible album tracks made this a truly memorable occasion. The band sounding absolutely faultless, enjoying themselves and embracing the time on stage. Maybe if they had been booked from the start we could have got a few more songs…. which were much needed. They ended with a two man rendition of 'Avalanche', a sad day for rock that they will be disbanding but a truly and utterly brilliant performance will long live in 2000 Trees history.
I decided to watch The Cave headliners the mighty 'Future of the Left' a deserved headline spot, the muddy and humid cave was absolutely crammed ready for their performance. Pounding away into tracks from their first two albums, 'Future of the Left' heckle and involve the crowd, their heavy bass laden sound prods you in the face and leaves you branded for life, catchy, relentless and truly brilliant what a set to end the festival with. The new material fitting in and standing its own when needed, these guys (and girl) satisfy the crowd to another level. A band for the Main stage headliner picking in the next few years is a must, 'Future of the Left' go from strength to strength. During the last song frontman 'Andy Falkous' gradually dismantled the drum kit whilst being played until it can be played no more. What an ending what a night, what a guy.
With further entertainment to enlighten you with such as a silent disco in front of every stage until 3am both days, busking stations where pre arranged acts and punters can show their talent. Sheep dog trials, amazing stalls and incredible people.
2000 trees will reign for years to come.
Thank you 2000 trees for such an amazing weekend. See you next year.
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