Music Festival: 2000 Trees 14th – 16th July 2011

If you were not aware that 2000trees Festival happened two weekends ago, then shame on you, but this doesn’t mean you have been living under a rock. 2000trees calls itself a festival for new and underground British music, this coupled with the lack of mainstream advertising lead to a congregation of around 3000 like minded, indie individuals. The small scale of the festival site was very similar to that of our very own Truck and events of this ilk always have a special feel. A certain camaraderie was built up by the festival goers, stewards and musicians unique to small festivals.

The first band I saw were Cats And Cats And Cats who unfortunately were distinctly underwhelming. Their set began slowly and the choruses were nowhere near as soaring as on record which should never be the case. With the  music getting off to a bad start I proceeded to the Main Stage where I was met by the catchy pop-rock of Straight Lines. Their set may not have raised the bar musically but they did a great job of getting the crowd going, instigating a 50m conga line!

Tribes’ set on the Main Stage was very similar to that of early R.E.M and Pavement both of whom they class as strong influences. I can completely understand why they are gaining more and more hype but their songs are just too one dimensional and repetitive for my liking.

Next to grace the Main Stage where Dinosaur Pile-Up who brought their cross between Nirvana and Foo Fighters to Upcote Farm. Their set went down a storm and not only did they manage to stir the audience into a frenzy but they also executed each and every song with masterful precision. After this incredible set, a large number of punters migrated to the Leaf Lounge where waves were being made for Tall Ships’ instrument swapping, indie folk-rock sounds. The band possessing more pedals than the Tour de France enabled them to loop jagged guitar riffs and electro bleeps to high heaven much like in ‘Beanie And Dodger’. The audience’s rousing response was met humbly by the band who thanked everyone for “the biggest sing along ever” before diving head-on into Robbie Williams’ ‘Angels’. This bold move paid off and made for a very memorable moment for all in the tent.

For the final two sets on the Main Stage things began getting political with The King Blues talking about burning tabloid newspapers and Scroobius Pip commenting on the vulgarity of the BNP. A mixture between the bands words and an entire day of heavy drinking lead to the thriving mass of bodies gradually becoming wilder as the moments ticked on. Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip used inflatable balls for that extra touch (not quite Arcade Fire at Coachella) and The King Blues called the bassist’s infant daughter onstage eliciting “ahhhh”s from the audience. The night ended in a Ministry of Sound-esque frenzy before everyone stumbled back to their tents for a night of uncomfortable and interrupted sleep (yay festivals!).

Saturday’s weather forecast looked grim and early on in the day the heavens opened making the paths perilously muddy.

As Zun Zun Egui took to the stage, the sun began to come out, pouring scorn on all of the weather forecasters predictions. Their set was hypnotically joyful, the perfect soundtrack for the thawing of everyone’s aching, sleep deprived bodies. As the thawing process progressed into more of a tanning process Islet leapt on stage (literally). Their psychedelic and experimental music has been likened to such acts as Santana but at times was too psychedelic and too experimental, so much so that melodies were completely lost.

Next were local favourites Danny & the Champions of the World who brought in an unexpectedly large audience for a 4 o’clock slot, but well and truly deserved. I noticed a slight personnel change with a new guitarist who brought an extra dimension to the set with a few mental, self indulgent guitar solos which didn’t seem out of place and strangely integral.

Three Trapped Tigers set the crowd alight with their ridiculously mad instrumentals on the Main Stage as did Japanese Voyeurs in The Cave with their crescendos of beautiful noise and achingly attractive lead singer.

Los Campesinos! allowed us into their strange, new world with their unique blend of orchestral brilliance and teenage anger. Such favourites as ‘You! Me! Dancing!’ and ‘Death To Los Campesinos!’ went down a storm with Gareth entering the rapturous crowd during the latter song.

To top off the festival were Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit who are one of my favourite ever bands not just because I’m Scottish but because of Scott Hutchinson’s exquisite songwriting. They played a set full of emotional and touching tracks without every seeming overly soppy like ‘My Backwards Walk’ as well as the rousing barnburners like crowd favourite ‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’. The festival closed with the bands accounts of joyless sex in ‘Keep Yourself Warm’ the chorus of which could be heard from all corners of the site. A great end to a great festival.